Extranodal Histiocytic Sarcoma: Clinicopathologic Analysis of 14 Cases of a Rare Epithelioid Malignancy

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Histiocytic sarcoma is a rare malignant neoplasm that occurs in lymph nodes, skin, and the gastrointestinal tract. Many previously published cases were likely misdiagnosed examples of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Only small numbers of bona fide examples exist in the world literature; cases arising primarily at extranodal sites are not well described and often seem to go unrecognized. To characterize these tumors further, 14 extranodal histiocytic sarcomas were analyzed. Hematoxylin and eosin sections were reexamined, immunohistochemistry was performed, and clinical details were obtained from referring hospitals. Eight patients were female and 6 male (median age, 55 years; range, 15–89 years). All patients presented with a solitary mass, ranging in size from 1.8 to 12 cm (median 6.8 cm). Seven tumors arose in soft tissue (6 lower limb; 1 upper limb), 5 in the gastrointestinal tract (1 involving both stomach and colon, 1 ileum, 2 rectum, 1 anus), 1 in the nasal cavity, and 1 in the lung. Three gastrointestinal tract tumors also involved regional lymph nodes, and 1 involved the liver. Most cases had infiltrative margins. The tumors were generally composed of sheets of large epithelioid cells with abundant eosinophilic cytoplasm, oval to irregular nuclei, vesicular chromatin, and large nucleoli. Binucleated cells were common, and 6 cases contained tumor giant cells. Mitoses ranged from 1 to 64 per 10 HPF (median 11 per 10 HPF). Necrosis was present in 8 cases. Nearly all tumors showed a striking inflammatory infiltrate, most often of neutrophils or lymphocytes. All cases were reactive for LCA, CD45RO, and CD68 (KP1 and PG-M1); 13 of 14 (93%) expressed CD4, 12 of 14 (86%) lysozyme, 8 of 10 (80%) CD31, 7 of 14 (50%) S-100 protein, and 5 of 14 (36%) focal CD1a. Two tumors showed weak, focal cytoplasmic positivity for CD30, and 1 for epithelial membrane antigen. The tumors were negative for ALK-1, CD21, CD35, CD3, CD20, CD34, myeloperoxidase, HMB-45, and keratins. Gastrointestinal tract cases were negative for c-kit and desmin. Six patients were treated with postoperative radiation and 7 with chemotherapy (CHOP or ProMACE-MOPP). Follow-up was available for 10 patients (median, 24 months; range, 4 months to 11 years). Two tumors recurred locally, and 5 patients developed distant spread: 3 to lymph nodes, 1 to lung, and 1 to bone. At the last follow-up, 2 patients have died of disseminated disease, 4 and 5 months following initial diagnosis. The patients who died thus far had the largest primary tumors. Histiocytic sarcoma may arise primarily in soft tissue and shows reproducible histologic features, including abundant eosinophilic cytoplasm and a prominent inflammatory infiltrate. Metastatic carcinoma, metastatic melanoma, and large cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas should be excluded by immunohistochemistry. Histiocytic sarcoma has the potential for an aggressive clinical course, most often with lymph node involvement. However, a subset of cases presenting with clinically localized disease have a favorable long-term outcome. Tumor size may be a prognostic factor.

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