Epstein-Barr virus-associated smooth muscle tumors are distinctive mesenchymal tumors reflecting multiple infection events: a clinicopathologic and molecular analysis of 29 tumors from 19 patients.
Epstein-Barr virus-associated smooth muscle tumors (EBV-SMT) are rare lesions that occur in immunocompromised patients. Because they have not been fully characterized pathologically or at the molecular level, we have studied 29 tumors from 19 patients, the largest series to date. Cases coded as EBV-SMT were identified in 19 patients from consultation files and from the renal transplant database at Singapore General Hospital. EBV-SMT occurred in adults (mean age 39 years; range, 21-57 years) and predominantly affected males (12 male, 7 female). Causes of immunocompromise were renal transplantation (10), AIDS (8), and steroid therapy (1). Tumors were located in soft tissue (5), lung (5), liver (4), and miscellaneous sites (15). In 13 patients (68%), the tumors were multiple. Infection with EBV was confirmed in all cases by in situ hybridization for EBV early RNAs (EBER). EBV-SMT were typically well-differentiated smooth muscle tumors with little atypia and usually a low level of mitotic activity. Unlike classic leiomyosarcomas, they lacked significant pleomorphism but frequently displayed primitive round cell areas and prominent intratumoral T lymphocytes. No consistent relationship between histologic features and clinical outcome was noted. All expressed actin (29 of 29) and less frequently desmin (14 of 26). Multiple tumors in a given patient were clonally distinct as assessed by the long terminal repeat region of the virus, supporting the view that multifocal tumors arise from multiple infection events rather than from metastasis. Strain typing by analysis of the EBNA-3C gene confirmed the presence of EBV type 2. Two of four tumors assessed were positive for a 30-bp deletion in the LMP1 gene. EBV copy number per cell ranged greatly between patients and between tumors from the same patient. Follow-up information was available in 18 of 19 patients (mean, 25 months; range, 1-105 months). Fifteen patients were alive: 11 with disease and 4 without. Three patients died, 1 due to disease. We conclude that EBV-SMT are histologically distinct from classic soft tissue smooth muscle tumors, are not readily evaluated by means of conventional histologic criteria, and in the case of multifocal tumors are the result of multiple infection events rather than metastasis. EBV-2 can transform smooth muscle cells, independent of the presence of the LMP1 deletion associated with greater virulence.
Deyrup, AT; Lee, VK; Hill, CE; Cheuk, W; Toh, HC; Kesavan, S; Chan, EW; Weiss, SW
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