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Keywords:

  • extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma;
  • neuroendocrine differentiation;
  • light microscopy;
  • immunohistochemistry;
  • ultrastructure;
  • immunoelectron microscopy

Extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma: a light microscopic, immunohistochemical, ultrastructural and immuno-ultrastructural study indicating neuroendocrine differentiation

Aims: Extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma is a rare low-grade soft-tissue sarcoma with locally aggressive and metastasizing potential. Extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma has distinctive clinical, light microscopic, immunophenotypic, cytogenetic and ultrastructural features. Evidence that extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma often shows neuroendocrine features was first provided by Chhieng et al.9 on the basis of an immunohistochemical and ultrastructural study of seven cases. Our study aims to further confirm by immunohistochemistry and ultrastructural studies, including immunoelectron microscopy, that extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma indeed may show neuroendocrine differentiation.

Methods and results: Fifteen cases of extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma and seven control cases of skeletal chondrosarcomas were studied. Extensive immunohistochemical analysis was performed in all cases and ultrastructural studies were done in 11 extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcomas and three skeletal chondrosarcomas. Immunoelectron microscopy was performed on one case each of extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma and skeletal chondrosarcoma. Extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcomas expressed neuron-specific enolase (100%), synaptophysin (87%), S100 (50%), PGP 9.5 (40%), and epithelial membrane antigen (25%). Co-expression of synaptophysin and PGP 9.5 was observed in six tumours. Skeletal chondrosarcomas showed expression of S100 protein, vimentin and neuron-specific enolase in all cases. Synaptophysin, chromogranin and PGP 9.5 were not expressed in any skeletal chondrosarcoma case. Ultrastructurally, extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma was characterized by distinct cords of cells immersed in a glycosaminoglycan-rich matrix. The cells were rich in mitochondria, had well-developed Golgi apparatus and there were numerous smooth vesicles. In three cases there were easily found 140–180 nm diameter membrane-bound dense-core granules in cell bodies and in processes, unrelated to the Golgi, compatible with neurosecretory granules. Fewer such granules were present in the remaining extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma cases, three of which also contained intracisternal tubules typical of extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma. The skeletal chondrosarcomas had scalloped cell surfaces, prominent rough endoplasmic reticulum focally distended with secretory product, and lacked neurosecretory granules. Intermediate filaments were prominent in both extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma and skeletal chondrosarcomas. Immunoelectron microscopy showed synaptophysin expression in the extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma but not in the skeletal chondrosarcoma case.

Conclusions: This study confirms that a substantial proportion of extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcomas show immunophenotypic and/or ultrastructural evidence of neuroendocrine differentiation, and are unlikely to be related to conventional skeletal chondrosarcomas.