Molecular confirmation of ewing sarcoma

Ramzi Dagher, Thu Anh Pham, Lynn Sorbara, Shimareet Kumar, Lauren Long, Donna Bernstein, Crystal Mackall, Mark Raffeld, Maria Tsokos, Lee Helman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Objective To analyze retrospectively results of reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing and demographic information in ?patients with known or suspected Ewing sarcoma/primitive neuroectodermal tumor family of tumors referred to the National Cancer Institute and to describe factors influencing the determination of molecular marker status. Patients and Methods Tumor samples from 76 patients from February 1997 to December 1999 were analyzed. In all cases, the diagnosis of this family of tumors was confirmed by histopathologic review. Results In 58 patients, the presence of a translocation associated with this family of tumors was confirmed using RT-PCR. Specifically, there were 45 Ewing sarcoma (EWS)-FLI type 1 translocations, four EWS-FLI type 2 translocations, five EWS-ERG translocations, and four less common EWS-FLI variants. Of patients with a confirmed translocation, four were confirmed only after nested RT-PCR techniques were used. In five patients who initially underwent needle biopsy, the diagnosis was confirmed only after open biopsy or repeat needle biopsy was undertaken.Samples from 18 patients were translocation-negative. Of these, seven samples were deemed inadequate for RT-PCR testing as a result of inappropriate tissue handling or the presence of necrotic material. Five patients were found to have a different diagnosis after complete histopathologic and molecular characterization. Six samples remained, in which adequate tissue was obtained with no evidence of a characteristic translocation. Conclusions In apparently translocation-negative samples, close attention should be given to the possibility of an alternative diagnosis, the potential need for nested RT-PCR, and the possibility of an inadequate sample. Strong consideration should be given to the use of open biopsy as opposed to needle biopsy to avoid the need for repeat biopsies and the potential for inaccurate assessment of molecular marker status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-224
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001


  • Ewing sarcoma
  • Polymerase chain reaction
  • Translocation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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