SMARCA4/SMARCA2-deficient Carcinoma of the Esophagus and Gastroesophageal Junction

Rachel K. Horton, Mahsa Ahadi, Anthony J. Gill, Samar Said, Zongming E. Chen, Ahmed Bakhshwin, Meredith Nichols, John R. Goldblum, Rondell P. Graham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Undifferentiated carcinoma of the esophagus and gastroesophageal junction is a recently recognized entity in the fifth edition of the World Health Organization Classification of Digestive Tumors and is diagnostically challenging, particularly on small biopsies. SMARCA4 and SMARCA2 are chromatin remodeling genes with key roles in oncogenesis. We retrieved 14 cases of SMARCA4/SMARCA2-deficient undifferentiated carcinoma of the gastroesophageal junction and esophagus from the authors' institutions. The tumors showed similar histologic findings: the sheet-like proliferation of tumor cells characterized by discohesion, large nuclei, and prominent macronucleoli with many tumor cells exhibiting a rhabdoid appearance. In 8 cases, adjacent specialized intestinal metaplasia was noted and 3 cases exhibited adjacent high-grade dysplasia. Immunohistochemically, tumors variably expressed keratins and disclosed loss of expression of SMARCA4 in 12 and SMARCA2 in 7 cases. In 2 cases SMARCA2 alone was lost without SMARCA4 loss. A mutant p53 immunohistochemical pattern was seen in 4 of 4 cases, 3 of which showed diffuse, strong nuclear expression, and 1 case displayed a complete loss of nuclear expression of p53, including invasive carcinoma and associated dysplasia, when present. Limited clinical follow-up was available, but 3 patients died of disease within 0.6, 2, and 7 months of diagnosis. We present the first series of undifferentiated carcinoma of the esophagus and gastroesophageal junction with this characteristic morphology associated with loss of SMARCA4 and/or SMARCA2 expression. This tumor type likely arises from dedifferentiation of a lower grade carcinoma in some cases, and Barrett esophagus and appears to be associated with an aggressive clinical course.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)414-420
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgical Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021


  • BRG1
  • esophageal carcinoma
  • gastroesophageal carcinoma
  • undifferentiated carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Surgery
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'SMARCA4/SMARCA2-deficient Carcinoma of the Esophagus and Gastroesophageal Junction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this