Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans: A retrospective study of clinicopathologic features and related Akt/mTOR, STAT3, ERK, cyclin D1, and PD-L1 expression

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Little is known regarding oncoproteins other than platelet-derived growth factor subunit B in dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP). Moreover, the risk factors for worse prognosis are controversial.


We sought to determine the clinicopathologic features and key factors for adverse outcome in DFSP, including the implication of expression of protein kinase B (Akt)/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), extracellular signal regulated kinase (ERK), cyclin D1, and programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1).


Clinicopathologic and immunohistochemical analyses were performed for 44 DFSPs having wide local excision and 92 dermatofibromas as controls.


Compared with the 35 nonrecurrent DFSPs, the 9 recurrent DFSPs exhibited larger tumor size, deeper invasion beyond the subcutis, and more diverse histologic subtype. The fibrosarcomatous subtype revealed frequent mitotic figures and a high cyclin D1–positive index. The 2 metastatic DFSPs (1 each of the fibrosarcomatous and myxoid subtypes) demonstrated 4 and 11 instances of local recurrence, respectively, as well as larger tumor size, deeper invasion beyond the subcutis, and high expression of cyclin D1. Expression of Akt/mTOR, STAT3, ERK, and PD-L1 ranged from none or low in the primary skin lesions to high in the corresponding metastatic sites. Akt/mTOR and ERK were expressed more frequently in DFSP than in dermatofibroma.


Lack of information on patients before hospital evaluation.


Complex factors beyond fibrosarcomatous subtype may portend local recurrence or metastasis. Akt/mTOR, STAT3, ERK, and PD-L1 may be associated with development and/or progression of DFSP.

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