A subset of epithelioid and spindle cell rhabdomyosarcomas is associated with TFCP2 fusions and common ALK upregulation

Abstract

Rhabdomyosarcomas with TFCP2 fusions represent an emerging subtype of tumors, initially discovered by RNA-sequencing. We report herein the clinicopathological, transcriptional, and genomic features of a series of 14 cases. Cases were retrospectively and prospectively recruited and studied by immunohistochemistry (MYF4, MYOD1, S100, AE1/E3, ALK), fluorescence in situ hybridization with TFCP2 break-apart probe (n = 10/14), array-comparative genomic hybridization (Agilent), whole RNA-sequencing (Truseq Exome, Illumina), or anchored multiplex PCR-based targeted next-generation sequencing (Archer® FusionPlex® Sarcoma kit). Patient’s age ranged between 11 and 86 years, including 5 pediatric cases. Tumors were located in the bone (n = 12/14) and soft tissue (n = 2/14). Most bone tumors invaded surrounding soft tissue. Craniofacial bones were over-represented (n = 8/12). Median survival was 8 months and five patients are currently alive with a median follow-up of 20 months. Most tumors displayed a mixed spindle cell and epithelioid pattern with frequent vesicular nuclei. All tumors expressed keratins and showed a rhabdomyogenic phenotype (defined as expression of MYF4 and/or MYOD1). ALK was overexpressed in all but three cases without underlying ALK fusion on break-apart FISH (n = 5) nor next-generation sequencing (n = 14). ALK upregulation was frequently associated with an internal deletion at genomic level. TFCP2 was fused in 5′ either to EWSR1 (n = 6) or FUS (n = 8). EWSR1 was involved in both soft tissue cases. FISH with TFCP2 break-apart probe was positive in all tested cases (n = 8), including one case with unbalanced signal. On array-CGH, all tested tumors displayed complex genetic profiles with genomic indexes ranging from 13 to 107.55 and recurrent CDKN2A deletions. FET-TFCP2 rhabdomyosarcomas clustered together and distinctly from other rhabdomyosarcomas subgroups. Altogether, our data confirm and expand the spectrum of the new family of FET-TFCP2 rhabdomyosarcomas, which are associated with a predilection for the craniofacial bones, an aggressive course, and recurrent pathological features. Their association with ALK overexpression might represent a therapeutic vulnerability.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful to pathologists and clinicians for sharing cases and follow-up informations: Dr A Al Bouzidi (Rabat, Marocco), Dr E Angot (CHU Rouen), Dr Foucard (Paris), Professor C Berger (HEGP, Paris), Dr N Bennani Guebessi (Casablanca, Marocco), Dr C Bazille (CHU Caen), Professor F Gouin (CHU Nantes), Dr E Bompas (ICO, St Herblain), Dr Haffadi (Casablanca), Dr C Raban (CHU Poitiers), Dr V Laurence (Institut Curie, Paris), Dr A Moreau (CHU Nantes, France), Dr S Watson (Institut Curie, Paris, France), Professor D Baumhoer (Basel, Switzerland), Dr M Chan (Paramaribo, Suriname), and Dr U Flucke (Nijmegen, The Netherlands). Dr A de La Fouchardière (Centre Leon Berard, Lyon, France) graciously provided the ALK-fusion positive Spitz nevi for the transcriptional analysis. We thank L Mayeur, V Velasco, and V Fouqué for their assistance. INSERM U1218 is supported by a charity funding “Le Fil d’Oriane”.

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Correspondence to François Le Loarer.

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