Adrenal Myelolipomas Show Nonrandom X-chromosome Inactivation in Hematopoietic Elements and Fat: Support for a Clonal Origin of Myelolipomas

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Abstract

Myelolipomas are defined as mature fat associated with hematopoietic elements, often found in the adrenal gland. The question of whether the hematopoietic cells are truly “normal” has not been evaluated extensively. In this study, we evaluated histologic, immunohistochemical features and comparisons of X-chromosome inactivation patterns in 19 myelolipomas. Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue from 19 myelolipomas was stained with hematoxylin and eosin and immunostained with monoclonal antibodies against CD138, CD34, CD117, CD42a, hemoglobin, myeloperoxidase, collagen IV, and nerve growth factor receptor. Histologic evaluation included estimates of overall cellularity of hematopoietic tissue, estimates of cellularity in the areas of highest concentration of hematopoietic tissue, myeloid to erythroid ratio, and numbers of megakaryocytes. X-chromosome inactivation analysis was performed on myelolipomas from 11 female patients by polymerase chain reaction. Myelolipomas showed wide variation in cellularity within the lesion (5% to 90%) with no correlation with the patient's age. All the myelolipomas demonstrated normal trilineage hematopoiesis and cellular morphology, with few early myeloid precursors, as evidenced by negativity for CD117 and only rare positivity for CD34 antibodies. Most of the myelolipomas (14/18) had markedly increased megakaryocytes compared with normal marrows. The majority of myelolipomas also had a stromal composition and vascular patterns that were different from those of normal bone marrow. X-chromosome inactivation studies demonstrated nonrandom X-chromosome inactivation in 8/11 myelolipomas from female patients. Myelolipomas are morphologically different from the normal bone marrow. The majority of myelolipomas also have nonrandom X-chromosome inactivation, suggesting a clonal origin for these tumors.

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