SMARCB1-deficient vulvar neoplasms: A clinicopathologic, immunohistochemical, and molecular genetic study of 14 cases

Andrew L. Folpe, J. Kenneth Schoolmeester, W. Glenn McCluggage, Lisa M. Sullivan, Katharine Castagna, William A. Ahrens, Esther Oliva, Jaclyn A. Biegel, G. Petur Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Loss of expression of the SMARCB1 (INI1/BAF47/SNF5) tumor-suppressor protein, originally identified in pediatric malignant rhabdoid tumors, has been noted in significant percentages of epithelioid sarcomas of classical and proximal-type and in myoepithelial carcinomas. Epithelioid sarcoma and myoepithelial carcinoma are very rare in the vulvar region, and few of these cases have been evaluated for SMARCB1 protein loss by immunohistochemistry (IHC) or for SMARCB1 gene alterations by molecular genetic techniques. We studied the clinicopathologic, IHC, and molecular genetic features of 14 SMARCB1-deficient vulvar neoplasms. All available routinely stained sections were reexamined, and IHC analysis for wide-spectrum cytokeratins, high-molecular weight cytokeratins, epithelial membrane antigen, S100 protein, CD34, smooth muscle actin, desmin, and SMARCB1 was performed. Multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification and DNA sequencing of the SMARCB1 gene was performed on 12 cases with sufficient available tissue. The 14 vulvar tumors occurred in adult women (mean age 46 y, range 22 to 62 y) and measured 1.1 to 8.8 cm in size (mean 4.7 cm). Tumors were classified as classical-type epithelioid sarcoma (N=1), proximal-type epithelioid sarcoma (N=6), myoepithelial carcinoma (N=4), and "SMARCB1-deficient vulvar sarcoma, not otherwise specified" (N=3) on the basis of combined histopathologic and IHC findings. One myoepithelial carcinoma showed divergent rhabdomyoblastic differentiation. All tested cases showed partial or complete SMARCB1 deletions (homozygous: 9 cases; heterozygous: 3 cases). One case with a heterozygous deletion also showed a c.528delC mutation in exon 5. Fluorescence in situ hybridization for EWSR1 rearrangement was performed for 3 cases classified as myoepithelial carcinoma and was negative. Follow-up (13 patients, range 5 to 72 mo, mean 31 mo) data showed 3 patients dead of disease, 1 alive with unresectable metastatic disease, 1 alive with radiographic evidence of extensive lymph nodal disease, and 8 alive without disease. We conclude that SMARCB1-deficient vulvar neoplasms chiefly comprise epithelioid sarcoma and myoepithelial carcinoma, although some defy easy classification. No association was seen between clinical behavior and the type of SMARCB1 alteration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)836-849
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgical Pathology
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 26 2015


  • epithelioid sarcoma
  • myoepithelial carcinoma
  • sarcoma
  • vulvar neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Surgery
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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