, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 75-83

Ultrastructural and immunohistochemical study of Ewing's sarcoma and related tumors: Morphological neural markers suggesting neural histogenesis in 32 small round-cell sarcomas

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The purpose of this study was to validate the hypothesis of neural histogenesis of Ewing's sarcoma of bone and related tumors by light microscopic, electron microscopic, and immunohistochemical analysis. We studied 32 round-cell sarcomas (19 cases of Ewing's sarcoma of bone, 3 extraskeletal Ewing's sarcomas, 5 peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET) and 5 cases of unclassified small round-cell type of neurogenic sarcoma (NS). Immunoreactivity for MIC2 was observed in all cases of Ewing's sarcoma and PNET, and in 1 cases of NS. Positive immunoreactivity for neural markers (NSE, synaptophysin, S-100) was found frequently in some tumors. Ultrastructurally, some specific features of neural differentiation, such as a fragmented basal lamina and neurosecretory granule-like particles, were found even in typical cases of Ewing's sarcoma of bone, which presented without a rosette arrangement and were almost negative for neural immuno-markers, but positive for MIC2. These ultrastructural neural features were observed less frequently in Ewing's sarcoma of bone than in PNET and NS. However, no significant correlation was demonstrated between the immunoreactivity for neural markers and the ultrastructural and histological neural features. These results support the hypothesis of a neural origin of Ewing's sarcoma and related neoplasms, and suggest that some overlapping entity could persist in PNET and Ewing's sarcoma and that this entity could be seen in histological and immunohistochemical studies of both tumors.