The Value of H3K27me3 Immunohistochemistry in Differentiating Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumour with Its Histologic Mimickers

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Pathology, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Health Campus, Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, Malaysia.

2 Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, International Islamic University Malaysia, Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia.

3 Department of Orthopedics, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Health Campus, Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, Malaysia.

4 Department of Pathology, Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, Malaysia.


Background: Diagnosis of malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST) is rather challenging due to its divergent morphologic heterogeneity and lack of specific ancillary test. The emergence of H3K27 trimethylation (H3K27me3) as a new immunohistochemistry (IHC) marker for MPNST have recently available to assist pathologists in differentiating MPNST from other histologic mimics. We aim to study the expression pattern of H3K27me3 in MPNST and its histologic mimickers and their association with the clinicopathological data. Methodology: A total of 59 benign and malignant spindle cell tumours (18 MPNST and 41 of its histologic mimickers which included 10 schwannoma, 13 neurofibroma, 4 synovial sarcoma, 3 fibrosarcoma, 2 gastrointestinal stromal tumour (GIST), 4 leiomyosarcoma, 1 spindle cell liposarcoma, 1 solitary fibrous tumour, 2 low grade fibromyxoid sarcoma and 1 unclassified spindle cell sarcoma), diagnosed from January 1998 to April 2018 in Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia (HUSM) were tested for H3K27me3 by IHC. The MPNST histological grade was assessed based on the French Fe’de’ ration Nationale des Centres de LutteContre le Cancer (FNCLCC) for 3 tiers system (low grade, intermediate grade and high grade). The clinicopathological data were retrieved from the patients’ record. Results: A total of 61.1% (11/18 MPNST) showed loss of H3K27me3 expression which is statistically significant as compared to its histologic mimics (p<0.001). Similar findings (p=0.026) were also observed in high grade MPNST (81.8%), intermediate grade MPNST (100%) and 0% in low grade MPNST. Conclusion: H3K27me3, combined with other panel of markers, is useful in MPNST diagnosis to differentiate it from the histological mimickers.


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