Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNST) derive from the Schwann cell or perineurial cell lineage and occur either sporadically or in association with the tumor syndrome neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). MPNST often pose a diagnostic challenge due to their frequent lack of pathognomonic morphological or immunohistochemical features. Mutations in the NF1 tumor suppressor gene are found in all NF1-associated and many sporadic MPNST. The presence of NF1 mutation may have the potential to differentiate MPNST from several morphologically similar neoplasms; however, mutation detection is hampered by the size of the gene and the lack of mutational hot spots. Here we describe a newly developed monoclonal antibody binding to the C-terminus of neurofibromin (clone NFC) which was selected for optimal performance in routinely processed formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded tissue. NFC immunohistochemistry revealed loss of neurofibromin in 22/25 (88 %) of NF1-associated and 26/61 (43 %) of sporadic MPNST. There was a strong association of neurofibromin loss with deletions affecting the NF1 gene (P < 0.01). In a series of 256 soft tissue tumors of different histotypes NFC staining showed loss of neurofibromin in 2/8 myxofibrosarcomas, 2/12 (16 %) pleomorphic liposarcomas, 1/16 (6 %) leiomyosarcomas, and 4/28 (14 %) unclassified undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcomas. However, loss of neurofibromin was not observed in 22 synovial sarcomas, 27 schwannomas, 23 solitary fibrous tumors, 14 low-grade fibromyxoid sarcomas, 50 dedifferentiated liposarcomas, 27 myxoid liposarcomas, 13 angiosarcomas, 9 extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcomas, and 7 epitheloid sarcomas. Immunohistochemistry using antibody NFC may substantially facilitate sarcoma research and diagnostics.
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We thank Tanja Göck and Viktoria Zeller for excellent technical assistance.
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