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NUTM1-rearranged neoplasia: a multi-institution experience yields novel fusion partners and expands the histologic spectrum

Modern Pathology (2019) | Download Citation

Abstract

Poorly differentiated neoplasms lacking characteristic histopathologic features represent a significant challenge to the pathologist for diagnostic classification. Classically, NUT carcinoma (previously NUT midline carcinoma) is poorly differentiated but typically exhibits variable degrees of squamous differentiation. Diagnosis is genetically defined by NUTM1 rearrangement, usually with BRD4 as the fusion partner. In this multi-institutional next-generation sequencing and fluorescence in situ hybridization study, 26 new NUTM1-rearranged neoplasms are reported, including 20 NUT carcinomas, 4 sarcomas, and 2 tumors of an uncertain lineage. NUTM1 fusion partners were available in 24 of 26 cases. BRD4 was the fusion partner in 18/24 (75%) cases, NSD3 in 2/24 cases (8.3%), and BRD3 in 1/24 (4.2%) cases. Two novel fusion partners were identified: MGA in two sarcomas (myxoid spindle cell sarcoma and undifferentiated sarcoma) (2/24 cases 8.3%) and MXD4 in a round cell sarcoma in the cecum (1/24 cases 4.2%). Eleven cases tested for NUT immunoexpression were all positive, including the MGA and MXD4-rearranged tumors. Our results confirm that NUTM1 gene rearrangements are found outside the classic clinicopathological setting of NUT carcinoma. In addition, as novel fusion partners like MGA and MXD4 may not be susceptible to targeted therapy with bromodomain inhibitors, detecting the NUTM1 rearrangement may not be enough, and identifying the specific fusion partner may become necessary. Studies to elucidate the mechanism of tumorigenesis of novel fusion partners are needed.

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Affiliations

  1. Department of Pathology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA

    • Todd M. Stevens
    •  & Diana Morlote
  2. Caris Life Sciences, Phoenix, AZ, USA

    • Joanne Xiu
    • , Jeffrey Swensen
    •  & Zoran Gatalica
  3. Mount Sinai Beth Israel Department of Pathology, New York, NY, USA

    • Margaret Brandwein-Weber
  4. Department of Pathology, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA

    • Markku M. Miettinen
  5. Department of Pathology, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE, USA

    • Julia A. Bridge

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Todd M. Stevens.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41379-019-0206-z