Epithelioid Sarcoma-Like Hemangioendothelioma

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We are reporting seven histologically identical cases of a distinctive, low-grade vascular tumor that closely mimics an epithelioid sarcoma because of growth in solid sheets and nests, the eosinophilia of the rounded to slightly spindled neoplastic cells, and the diffuse, strong cytokeratin expression. Termed epithelioid sarcoma-like hemangioendothelioma, all were diagnosed by the submitting pathologist or another expert consultant as epithelioid sarcoma. Although none displayed architectural evidence of vascular differentiation in the form of multicellular vascular channels, some displayed subtle cytologic features of vascular differentiation and all displayed immunohistochemical evidence of endothelial differentiation. The patients (four male; three female) ranged in age from 17 to 54 years (median 23 years). Ranging in size from 1 to 3.5 cm, they occurred in the extremities (n = 5), scalp (n = 1), and chest wall (n = 1), both in deep (n = 3) and superficial (n = 3) soft tissue or both (n = 1). The tumors were characterized by sheets, ill-defined nodules, or fascicles of deeply eosinophilic cells set within a desmoplastic stroma. Multicellular vascular channel formation and/or hemorrhage were absent in all cases. In four cases intracytoplasmic vacuolization suggestive of intracytoplasmic vascular lumen formation was noted. The typical neoplastic cell was large and rounded in shape but modulated in areas to a spindled or multipolar shape. Mitotic activity was low (<5 mitotic figures/50 high power fields), nuclear pleomorphism was mild to moderate, and necrosis was absent. The tumors were positive for cytokeratin (6 of 6), vimentin (6 of 6), CD31 (5 of 6), FLI-1 (6 of 6), but negative for CD34 (0 of 6). Within a follow-up period of 3–72 months (median 39 months), two patients experienced a local recurrence and one patient regional soft tissue metastases, but no distant ones. Two patients presented with multifocal lesions suggestive of regional metastases. Currently, two patients are alive with disease and five are disease free. Epithelioid sarcoma-like hemangioendothelioma appears to be a largely unrecognized epithelioid vascular tumor with an indolent course. Despite its similar clinical and histologic features, it differs from epithelioid sarcoma by the presence of endothelial markers and the absence to date of distant metastases. Its distinction from other epithelioid vascular lesions is discussed. We think this tumor fits best into the family of “hemangioendothelioma” or vascular lesions of intermediate malignancy.

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