Secondary EWSR1 gene abnormalities in SMARCB1-deficient tumors with 22q11-12 regional deletions: Potential pitfalls in interpreting EWSR1 FISH results

Shih Chiang Huang, Lei Zhang, Yun Shao Sung, Chun Liang Chen, Yu-Chien Kao, Narasimhan P. Agaram, Cristina R. Antonescu

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14 Citations (Scopus)


SMARCB1 inactivation occurs in a variety of tumors, being caused by various genetic mechanisms. Since SMARCB1 and EWSR1 genes are located close to each other on chromosome 22, larger SMARCB1 deletions may encompass the EWSR1 locus. Herein, we report four cases with SMARCB1-deletions showing concurrent EWSR1 gene abnormalities by FISH, which lead initially to misinterpretations as EWSR1-rearranged tumors. Our study group included various morphologies: a poorly differentiated chordoma, an extrarenal rhabdoid tumor, a myoepithelial carcinoma, and a proximal-type epithelioid sarcoma. All cases showed loss of SMARCB1 (INI1) by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and displayed characteristic histologic features for the diagnoses. The SMARCB1 FISH revealed homozygous or heterozygous deletions in three and one case, respectively. The co-hybridized EWSR1 probes demonstrated either unbalanced split signals or heterozygous deletion in two cases each. The former suggested bona fide rearrangement, while the latter resembled an unbalanced translocation. However, all the FISH patterns were quite complex and distinct from the simple and uniform split signals seen in typical EWSR1 rearrangements. We conclude that in the context of 22q11-12 regional alterations present in SMARCB1-deleted tumors, simultaneous EWSR1 involvement may be misinterpreted as equivalent to EWSR1 rearrangement. A detailed clinicopathologic correlation and supplementing the EWSR1 FISH assay with complementary methodology is mandatory for correct diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)767-776
Number of pages10
JournalGenes Chromosomes and Cancer
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2016


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research

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