Frequency of transducer-like enhancer of Split 1 immunohistochemical expression in synovial sarcoma: An institution-based cross-sectional study

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Pathology and Laboratory Medicine


Background: Soft-tissue sarcomas comprise a diverse group of sarcomas with characteristic histologic features. However, histology alone is not adequate for a definitive diagnosis for many tumors. In such cases, immunohistochemistry (IHC) plays a key role in determining the line of differentiation and exact characterization. Transducer-like enhancer of split 1 (TLE1) has been recently described as a novel marker for synovial sarcoma (SS). Its high sensitivity and specificity make it a potential marker that distinguishes SS from histologic mimics such as malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST), Ewing's sarcoma (ES), and fibrosarcomatous dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (FS-DFSP). The objective of our study was to assess the frequency of TLE1 immunohistochemical expression on SS cases of various subtypes.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted at the Department of Histopathology, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan from February 3, 2018 to February 10, 2019. Tissue samples of 89 SS cases were selected for this study. Tumor sections were stained with hematoxylin and eosin (H&E), cytokeratin AEI/AE3 (CKAE1/AE3), epithelial membrane antigen (EMA), and TLE1 immunohistochemical stain. TLE1 expression was assessed based on the Remmele scoring system.
Results: Tissue samples of 89 SS cases were processed for the study. Mean (±) standard deviation (SD) of age was 25 (±7.36) years. Male:female ratio was 1.1:1. Of the 89 SS cases, 42 (47.2%) were monophasic, six (6.7%) were biphasic, and 41 (46.1%) were poorly differentiated. All the 89 cases showed positivity for TLE1 immunostain: 86 (96.6%) cases showed strong positivity, one (1.1%) case showed moderate expression, and two (2.2%) showed weak positivity.
Conclusion: This study shows that TLE1 is a highly sensitive immunostain for SS irrespective of the histologic type. However, it may show weak-to-moderate staining in poorly differentiated types. No statistically significant association was seen with respect to age group, gender, or type of SS.


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