The existence of a "high-grade endometrial stromal sarcoma" category of tumors has been a controversial subject owing to, among other things, the difficulty in establishing consistent diagnostic criteria. Currently, the recommended classification for such tumors is undifferentiated uterine/endometrial sarcoma. Interest in this subject has recently increased markedly with the identification of recurrent molecular genetic abnormalities. At Mayo Clinic, a group of neoplasms has been observed that morphologically resemble, either cytologically or architecturally, classic "low-grade" endometrial stromal sarcoma but feature obvious deviations, specifically, 17 tumors with unequivocally high-grade morphology. These high-grade tumors displayed 3 morphologic themes: (1) tumors with a component that is identical to low-grade ESS that transitions abruptly into an obviously higher-grade component; (2) tumors composed exclusively of high-grade cells with uniform nuclear features but with a permeative pattern of infiltration; (3) tumors similar to the second group but with a different, yet characteristic, cytomorphology featuring enlarged round to ovoid cells (larger than those found in low-grade ESS) with smooth nuclear membranes and distinct chromatin clearing but lacking prominent nucleoli. We collected clinicopathologic data, applied immunohistochemical studies, and also tested tumors by fluorescence in situ hybridization for abnormalities in JAZF1, PHF1, YWHAE, and CCND1. Tumors from these 3 groups were found to be immunohistochemically and genetically distinct from one another. Most notable was the fact that category 3 contained all the cases that tested positive for YWHAE rearrangement, did not show any classic translocations for JAZF1, PHF1, or CCND1, often presented at a high stage, and behaved aggressively. This study demonstrates the morphologic, immunophenotypic, and molecular genetic heterogeneity that exists within "undifferentiated endometrial sarcomas" as currently defined and lends credence to the effort of subclassifying some tumors as truly "high-grade endometrial stromal sarcomas." Our study also shows that, in the context of undifferentiated endometrial sarcomas, recognition of cytomorphologic features on routine hematoxylin and eosin-stained sections may be used to select tumors with specific molecular genetic changes-that is, translocations involving YWHAE. Our conclusions will help further efforts towards proper sub-classification of these tumors which will aid in diagnosis and potentially affect clinical management.
- endometrial stromal sarcoma
- undifferentiated uterine/endometrial sarcoma
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine