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Soft tissue tumors: Alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma

Identity

Phylum Soft Tissue Tumors:Skeletal Muscle tumors:Alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma
Note Alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS) refers to one subtype of the rhabdomyosarcoma family of soft tissue tumors. These are mesenchymal tumours related to the skeletal muscle lineage.

Classification

    ARMS is one of two subtypes of rhabdomyosarcoma. The other major subype is embryonal rhabdosarcoma (ERMS). Within the ARMS subtype, there is no further histopathologic subtyping of clinical significance. Genetic subtyping has identified PAX3-FKHR, PAX7-FKHR, and fusion-negative subsets of ARMS; the clinical significance of these subsets is still being actively investigated.

Clinics and Pathology

Embryonic origin ARMS tends to occur within skeletal muscle and is postulated to derive from precursor cells within the skeletal muscle. Therefore, the embryonic derivation of these tumors is presumed to be mesoderm, the same as that of skeletal muscle.
Epidemiology ARMS accounts for 20-30% of all RMS tumors. Therefore ARMS represents ~1% of all malignancies among children and adolescents, and has an annual incidence of ~1 per million. Many ARMS tumors occur in older children and young adults - this age association characterizes the more prevalent PAX3-FKHR-positive subset of ARMS. In contrast, PAX7-FKHR-positive ARMS as well as fusion-negative tumors tend to occur in younger children.
Clinics ARMS often occurs within skeletal muscle of the extremities but can also occur in other sites including the trunk and head and neck. This tumor often presents as a painless mass, but in other cases, may be discovered from symptoms produced by compression of structures at the primary site. A substantial fraction of patients with ARMS (25-30%) will have metastatic disease at the time of diagnosis. ARMS most frequently spreads to bone marrow, distal nodes, and bone. The standard treatment for ARMS is a combination of surgery, radiation, and intensive chemotherapy.
Pathology Tumor cells in ARMS are relatively small with scant cytoplasm. They have round regular nuclei with a monotonous chromatin pattern. The cells form aggregates interrupted by fibrovascular septae, and within these aggregates, areas of discohesion often form, resulting in spaces that resemble alveoli of the lung. In some ARMS cases, there are few fibrovascular septae, no alveoli-like spaces, and a predominant cellular small round cell population; the term "solid variant" applies to this situation.
In addition to general immunohistochemical markers to identify RMS, certain markers aid in the identification of ARMS. Immunostaining for myogenin and MyoD show different patterns between ARMS and ERMS, such that most cells within an ARMS tumor stain positive whereas fewer cells within an ERMS tumor stain positive. In addition, based on microarray studies that distinguish fusion-postive ARMS from fusion-negative ERMS, AP2β and p-cadherin were found to be specific markers for the fusion-positive ARMS subtype.
 
Histopathology of alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (hematoxylin-eosin, original magnification: 100X; courtesy of Dr. Linda Ernst).
Prognosis Patients with ARMS tumors have a poorer outcome than patients with ERMS tumors. The 4-year failure free survival rates for patients with localized and metastastic ARMS are 65% and 15%, respectively. Other risk factors that influence outcome of ARMS include primary site, size of primary tumor, extent of local spread, and the presence of nodal and distal metastases.
In an analysis of patients from the IRS-IV study, patients with localized PAX3-FKHR and PAX7-FKHR-positive ARMS had comparable outcomes. In contrast, among patients presenting with metastatic disease, those with PAX3-FKHR-positive tumors had a significantly poorer outcome than those with PAX7-FKHR-positive tumors (4-year overall survival rate of 8% compared to 75%, p=0.0015).

Genetics

Note Most cases of ARMS occur sporadically without an apparent genetic predisposition.

Cytogenetics

Cytogenetics
Morphological
Most ARMS cases contain one of two recurrent chromosomal translocations: t(2;13)(q35;q14) or t(1;13)(p36;q14). Reciprocal balanced translocations are often present for the 2;13 translocation. The 1;13 is sometimes visible as a balanced translocation, and other times is associated with a subsequent amplification event.
Additional cytogenetic changes in ARMS include:
  • Amplification events involving 12q13-15, 2p24, 1p36, 13q14, 2q34-qter, 13q31 (as determined by comparative genomic hybridization studies).
  • Numerical chromosome gains, such as chromosomes 2, 12, and 20.
  • Examples of 2;13 translocation from ARMS tumors. G-banding (above) - Courtesy G. Reza Hafez, Eric B.Johnson, and Sara Morrison-Delap, Cytogenetics at the Waisman Center ; R- banding (below) - Courtesy Jean-Luc Lai.
    Diagram of t(2;13)(q35;q14) and t(1;13)(p36;q14) chromosomal translocations.

    Genes involved and Proteins

    Gene Name FOXO1
    Location 13q14
    Protein Transcription factor.

    Gene Name PAX3
    Location 2q35
    Protein Transcription factor.

    Gene Name PAX7
    Location 1p36
    Protein Transcription factor.

    Result of the chromosomal anomaly

    Hybrid Gene
     
    Comparison of wild-type and fusion products associated with the 2;13 and 1;13 translocations. The paired box, octapeptide, homeobox and fork head domain are indicated as open boxes, and transcriptional domains (DNA binding domain, DBD; transcriptional activiation domain) are shown as solid bars. The vertical dash line indicates the translocation fusion point.
    Description The 2;13 and 1;13 translocations rearrange the PAX3 or PAX7 gene on chromosome 2 or 1 and the FOXO1 gene on chromosome 13 to generate a PAX3-FOXO1 or PAX7-FOXO1 fusion gene.
    Among ARMS tumors, ~60% are PAX3-FOXO1-positive, ~20% are PAX7-FOXO1-positive, and ~20% are fusion-negative.
    The PAX7-FKHR fusion is often amplified in tumors (70% of PAX7-FKHR-positive cases) whereas the PAX3-FKHR gene fusion is much less frequently amplified in tumors (5% of PAX3-FKHR-positive cases). Gene amplification appears to be one mechanism to increase the expression level of the gene fusion in ARMS tumor cells.
    Fusion Protein
    Description These fusion genes encode fusion transcription factors with a PAX3 or PAX7 DNA binding domain and FOXO1 transactivation domain.
    Expression Localisation Nuclear.
    Oncogenesis Transcription dysregulation.
      

    Other genes implicated (Data extracted from papers in the Atlas)

    Genes DDX1 EWSR1 FGFR4 FOXO1 PAX3 YBX1

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    Contributor(s)

    Written01-2009Frederic G Barr
    Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA

    Citation

    This paper should be referenced as such :
    Barr FG . Soft tissue tumors: Alveolar rhabdomyosarco. Atlas Genet Cytogenet Oncol Haematol. January 2009 .
    URL : http://AtlasGeneticsOncology.org/Tumors/AlvRhabdomyosarcID5194.html

    The various updated versions of this paper are referenced and archived by INIST as such :
    http://documents.irevues.inist.fr/bitstream/2042/44650/1/01-2009-AlvRhabdomyosarcID5194.pdf   [ Bibliographic record ]

    © Atlas of Genetics and Cytogenetics in Oncology and Haematology
    indexed on : Sat Feb 1 17:14:54 CET 2014


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