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Solitary fibrous tumour (SFT) is an infrequently metastasising mesenchymal tumour defined by the NAB2–STAT6 fusion gene. Activating mutations in the telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) gene promoter has been reported to associate with adverse patient outcome in SFTs.We analysed the hTERT gene for promoter mutations and copy number alterations in 43 primary extrameningeal SFTs (9 malignant and 34 benign tumours according to WHO 2013 criteria), six local recurrences and three metastatic lesions.Activating −124 C>T (n=12) or −148 C>T (n=2) mutations were found in 33% of the tumours and associated with older age (P=0.006), necrosis (P=0.009), higher mitotic rate (P=0.003), nuclear atypia (P=0.002), malignant histological diagnosis (P=0.04) and worse progression-free survival (P=0.023). We also observed frequent (24%) hTERT promoter mutations in histologically benign tumours without metastasis (mean follow-up >9 years), and in 14%–18% of low-risk SFTs as determined by three risk-stratification models. Mutations were seen in 2/6 metastatic tumours and metastatic lesions. hTERT copy number gain was seen in 11/28 hTERT promoter wild-type cases.Activating hTERT promoter mutations associate with aggressive histopathological features, indicating a role in tumour progression. Given the comparatively high prevalence of hTERT promoter mutations in low-risk and non-metastasising lesions, further studies are required to clarify the prognostic value of hTERT promoter analysis before implementing the analysis in clinical diagnostics.