Spindle Cell Melanoma and Interdigitating Dendritic Cell Sarcoma: Do They Represent the Same Process?

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Abstract

Intranodal spindle cell lesions on biopsy are problematic for a surgical pathologist, often requiring an extensive immunohistochemical evaluation with variable and frequently unsatisfactory results. In the absence of a history of malignancy, the differential diagnosis of a spindle cell tumor must include both a primary nodal proliferation and a metastatic process. Particularly challenging are those lesions that share morphologic and immunohistochemical features; spindle cell melanomas (SCM) and interdigitating dendritic cell sarcomas (IDCS) belong to this category. At present, electron microscopy is the only method proposed to distinguish between the 2 entities; however, this method is often unavailable and impractical. In this study, we assessed the comparative immunophenotypes of 18 cases of SCM and 8 cases of IDCS, with particular emphasis on the expression of MUM-1, β-catenin, SOX-10, MiTF, and p75. Our results showed nearly equivalent staining patterns and profiles; 12% and 17% of IDCS and SCM were labeled for MUM-1, 75% and 83% stained for β-catenin, 0% and 24% expressed MiTF, and 100% and 94% labeled for p75, respectively. All cases of IDCS and SCM displayed strong nuclear reactivity for SOX-10. On the basis of our study and pertinent literature, the morphologic and immmunophenotypic features of SCM and IDCS appear to be virtually indistinguishable from one another, raising the question as to whether these 2 entities represent a pathobiologically similar or even identical process.

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