Publications by authors named "Phyu P Aung"

114 Publications

Melanocytic lesions with blue naevus-like (dendritic) morphology: an update with an emphasis on histopathological, immunophenotypic, and molecular features.

Histopathology 2021 Mar 27. Epub 2021 Mar 27.

Department of Pathology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA.

An accurate diagnosis of melanocytic lesions requires a thorough histopathological evaluation accompanied by appropriate correlation with clinical examination findings. Although most melanocytic lesions can readily be classified as one of the defined diagnostic entities according to well-established diagnostic criteria, a subset of melanocytic lesions, particularly those with blue naevus-like (pigmented dendritic) morphology, have notoriously constituted an enduring challenge for pathologists. These lesions are rare and often show histological ambiguities, with features of both benignity and malignancy, thereby making accurate risk assessment and prediction of their biological behaviours difficult on histological grounds alone. Herein, we outline a practical and systematic approach for the diagnosis of melanocytic lesions with dendritic morphology, with a particular focus on histological and immunophenotypic features that help to distinguish one entity from another. In this review, we provide the most current knowledge on these melanocytic lesions in the literature and our experience with these rare entities, and we discuss the utility of molecular techniques as an ancillary tool, especially in histologically ambiguous and/or borderline lesions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/his.14371DOI Listing
March 2021

Is immunohistochemical expression of GATA3 helpful in the differential diagnosis of transformed mycosis fungoides and primary cutaneous CD30-positive T cell lymphoproliferative disorders?

Virchows Arch 2021 Feb 18. Epub 2021 Feb 18.

Department of Pathology, Dermatopathology Section, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA.

Mycosis fungoides with large cell transformation (MFLCT) can be difficult to distinguish from primary cutaneous CD30+ T cell lymphoproliferative disorders (PC CD30+ LPD), especially primary cutaneous anaplastic large cell lymphoma (PC-ALCL). This diagnostic distinction is critical for appropriate patient management. GATA3 has been proposed to be useful in the discrimination between these two entities. We identified 25 cases of MFLCT and 24 cases of PC CD30+ LPDs (including lymphomatoid papulosis (n=14), PC-ALCL (n=6), and CD30+ LPD, not otherwise specified (n=4)) diagnosed at our institution from 2002 to 2019. Sections from archived specimens were stained to evaluate for GATA3 expression by immunohistochemistry and compared among cutaneous CD30+ T cell LPDs. The majority of the MFLCT cohort had strong, diffuse expression of GATA3 ranging from 0 to 100% of dermal T cells (mean 53.20%) with 15/25 cases (60%) showing GATA3 expression greater than 50%, while the PC CD30+ LPD group showed variable, moderate GATA3 labeling ranging from 0 to 60% of dermal T cells (mean 23.26%), with 5/6 cases (83%) showing GATA3 expression less than 40% (p =0.003). The calculated sensitivity and specificity were 56% and 74%, while positive and negative predictive values were 70% and 61%, respectively. Based on the percent staining of positive cells, using 50% as a cutoff value for expression, GATA3 might be a useful immunohistochemical marker to discriminate MFLCT from PC CD30+ LPDs, including PC-ALCL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00428-021-03056-yDOI Listing
February 2021

Discordance in Diagnosis of Melanocytic Lesions and Its Impact on Clinical Management.

Arch Pathol Lab Med 2021 Feb 12. Epub 2021 Feb 12.

From the Departments of Pathology (Ronen, Al-Rohil, Keiser, Jour, Nagarajan, Tetzlaff, Curry, Ivan, Middleton, Torres-Cabala, Aung, Prieto).

Context.—: Accurate diagnosis of melanocytic lesions is fundamental for appropriate clinical management.

Objective.—: To evaluate the degree of discordance, if any, between histopathologic diagnoses of melanocytic lesions at referring institutions and at a tertiary referral cancer center and the potential impact of such discordance on clinical management.

Design.—: We retrospectively identified all patients referred to our comprehensive cancer center for evaluation of a melanocytic lesion from January 2010 to January 2011. For each patient, the histopathologic diagnosis from the referring institution was compared with the histopathologic diagnosis from a dermatopathologist at our center. Discordances were classified as major if they resulted in a change in clinical management and minor if they did not.

Results.—: A total of 1521 cases were included. The concordance rates were 72.2% (52 of 72) for dysplastic nevus, 75.0% (15 of 20) for all other types of nevi, 91.1% (143 of 157) for melanoma in situ, 96.1% (758 of 789) for invasive melanoma, and 99.6% (478 of 480) for metastatic melanoma. Major discordances were found in 20.2% of cases (307 of 1521), and minor discordances were found in 48.8% of cases (742 of 1521). Compared with the guideline-based treatment recommendation based on the referring-institution diagnosis, the guideline-based treatment recommendation based on the cancer center diagnosis was more extensive in 5.9% (89 of 1521) of patients and less extensive in 5.0% (76 of 1521) of patients.

Conclusions.—: Our findings underscore the importance of secondary histopathologic review of melanocytic lesions by expert dermatopathologists because significant changes in the diagnosis, tumor classification, and/or staging may be identified; thus, resulting in critical changes in recommendations for clinical management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5858/arpa.2020-0620-OADOI Listing
February 2021

Perianal condylomata lata mimicking carcinoma.

J Cutan Pathol 2021 Jan 20. Epub 2021 Jan 20.

Department of Pathology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cup.13865DOI Listing
January 2021

Standardized Method for Defining a 1-mm2 Region of Interest for Calculation of Mitotic Rate on Melanoma Whole Slide Images.

Arch Pathol Lab Med 2021 Jan 8. Epub 2021 Jan 8.

From the Department of Pathology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston.

Context.—: Mitotic rate counting is essential in pathologic evaluations in melanoma. The American Joint Committee on Cancer recommends reporting the number of mitotic figures (MFs) in a 1-mm2 area encompassing the "hot spot." There is currently no standard procedure for delineating a 1-mm2 region of interest for MF counting on a digital whole slide image (WSI) of melanoma.

Objective.—: To establish a standardized method to enclose a 1-mm2 region of interest for MF counting in melanoma based on WSIs and assess the method's effectiveness.

Design.—: Whole slide images were visualized using the ImageScope viewer (Aperio). Different monitors and viewing magnifications were explored and the annotation tools provided by ImageScope were evaluated. For validation, we compared mitotic rates obtained from WSIs with our method and those from glass slides with traditional microscopy with 30 melanoma cases.

Results.—: Of the monitors we examined, a 32-inch monitor with 3840 × 2160 resolution was optimal for counting MFs within a 1-mm2 region of interest in melanoma. When WSIs were viewed in the ImageScope viewer, ×10 to ×20 magnification during screening could efficiently locate a hot spot and ×20 to ×40 magnification during counting could accurately identify MFs. Fixed-shape annotations with 500 × 500-μm squares or circles can precisely and efficiently enclose a 1-mm2 region of interest. Our method on WSIs was able to produce a higher mitotic rate than with glass slides.

Conclusions.—: Whole slide images may be used to efficiently count MFs. We recommend fixed-shape annotation with 500 × 500-μm squares or circles for routine practice in counting MFs for melanoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5858/arpa.2020-0137-OADOI Listing
January 2021

Prognostic Significance of Subungual Anatomic Site in Acral Lentiginous Melanoma.

Arch Pathol Lab Med 2020 Dec 8. Epub 2020 Dec 8.

From the Department of Pathology (Mejbel, Torres-Cabala, Ivan, Nagarajan, Curry, Prieto, Aung), The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston.

Context.—: Acral lentiginous melanoma is a rare and aggressive type of cutaneous melanoma that arises on the acral skin and the nail unit. The prognostic significance of subungual anatomic site in acral lentiginous melanoma is not established.

Objective.—: To assess the impact of subungual anatomic site on overall survival and disease-specific survival in acral lentiginous melanoma.

Design.—: Retrospective cohort analysis. Clinicopathologic characteristics of 627 primary acral lentiginous melanomas (45 [7%] subungual and 582 [93%] nonsubungual) were summarized, and the impact of these characteristics on overall survival and disease-specific survival was determined using univariate and multivariable analyses.

Results.—: No significant differences in clinicopathologic features were identified between the subungual and nonsubungual acral lentiginous melanomas. The 1-, 5-, and 10-year overall survival rates were 81%, 40%, and 28%, respectively, for subungual acral lentiginous melanoma and 94%, 59%, and 38%, respectively, for nonsubungual acral lentiginous melanoma (P = .04); risk of death was significantly higher for subungual tumors (hazard ratio [95% confidence interval] = 1.59 [1.02-2.50]; P = .04). The 1-, 5-, and 10-year disease-specific survival rates were 94%, 56%, and 48%, respectively, for subungual acral lentiginous melanoma versus 96%, 69%, and 55%, respectively, for nonsubungual acral lentiginous melanoma (P = .18). By multivariable analysis, independent poor prognostic factors included older age and ulceration for overall survival and greater Breslow thickness and sentinel lymph node positivity for overall survival and disease-specific survival. Subungual anatomic site was not an independent prognostic factor for overall or disease-specific survival.

Conclusions.—: Subungual anatomic site is not an independent prognostic factor for acral lentiginous melanoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5858/arpa.2020-0308-OADOI Listing
December 2020

Distant cutaneous metastasis of malignant epithelioid mesothelioma.

J Cutan Pathol 2021 Jul 14;48(7):902-907. Epub 2020 Dec 14.

Department of Pathology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA.

Malignant mesothelioma is a locally aggressive malignancy most commonly arising from the pleural and/or peritoneal cavity. Distant cutaneous metastasis is extremely rare. Here, we describe two cases of mesothelioma metastatic to the head and neck skin. Case 1: A 64-year-old man diagnosed previously with extensive thoracic and abdominal mesothelioma, developed a rapidly growing right upper lip lesion, for which a wedge resection was performed. Case 2: A 77-year-old woman with a history of pleural mesothelioma developed a firm, mobile subcutaneous nodule on the right lateral forehead, clinically thought to represent either an epidermal inclusion cyst or a lipoma. A punch biopsy was performed. In both cases, histopathologic evaluation revealed dermal proliferation of epithelioid cells with moderate cytologic atypia and three mitotic figures per mm and two mitotic figures per mm for Cases 1 and 2, respectively. Immunohistochemical studies revealed the lesional cells to be positive for WT1, mesothelin, D2-40, CK5/6, while being negative for melanocytic and other keratinocytic markers, supporting a diagnosis of metastatic mesothelioma. Awareness of rare instances of cutaneous metastases from malignant mesothelioma is necessary to avoid possible misdiagnosis and ensure appropriate management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cup.13927DOI Listing
July 2021

Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase Protein Expression Is More Frequent in Acral Lentiginous Melanoma Than in Other Types of Cutaneous Melanoma.

Arch Pathol Lab Med 2021 Jul;145(7):842-850

From the Departments of Pathology (Cho, Wang, Nagarajan, Curry, Ivan, Lazar, Prieto, Torres-Cabala, Aung), The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston.

Context.—: Molecularly distinct from cutaneous melanomas arising from sun-exposed sites, acral lentiginous melanomas (ALMs) typically lack ultraviolet-signature mutations, such as telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) promoter mutations. Instead, ALMs show a high degree of copy number alterations, often with multiple amplifications of TERT, which are associated with adverse prognosis. The prognostic value of TERT protein expression in acral melanomas, however, is not established.

Objective.—: To evaluate the frequency and pattern of TERT immunoreactivity and assess the potential utility of TERT expression as a prognostic indicator in ALMs.

Design.—: TERT expression by immunohistochemistry was analyzed in a series of 57 acral and nonacral melanocytic lesions, including 24 primary and 6 metastatic ALMs. Clinical outcome in patients with ALMs by TERT expression was assessed.

Results.—: TERT expression was more frequent in ALMs than in nonlentiginous acral melanomas and nonacral cutaneous melanomas, and was absent in acral nevi (P = .01). When present, TERT expression in ALMs was cytoplasmic and more intense than TERT expression in other melanocytic lesions (P = .05) with a higher H-score (P = .01). There was a trend toward decreased overall survival in patients with ALMs with TERT immunoreactivity, but it did not reach statistical significance. Furthermore, no correlation was found between TERT expression and disease-specific survival in patients with ALMs.

Conclusions.—: Although TERT protein expression was frequently detected in both primary and metastatic ALMs, TERT immunoreactivity in ALMs did not correlate with survival in our study. Further studies with larger cohorts are needed to elucidate the prognostic value of TERT expression in ALMs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5858/arpa.2020-0330-OADOI Listing
July 2021

Transition From a Standard to a Hybrid On-Site and Remote Anatomic Pathology Training Model During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic.

Arch Pathol Lab Med 2021 01;145(1):22-31

Department of Pathology (Chin, Kwon, Gan, Ramalingam, Prieto, Aung), The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston.

Context.—: As teaching hospitals institute social distancing and defer nonemergent procedures to cope with the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, the need for daily on-site presence, unless necessary, has been reduced for all medical staff, including trainees. Pathology training programs must adapt to these changes to ensure overall safety without significantly compromising training and the educational mission of the institution.

Objective.—: To describe the hybrid on-site and remote anatomic pathology training model in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic that was implemented in our pathology department and report the clinical fellows' responses to the survey about their experiences.

Design.—: The hybrid model was implemented March 25, 2020. Fellows alternate weekly between working on site and working remotely. On site, fellows wear personal protective equipment and maintain social distancing. Remotely, fellows use digital pathology to review cases and supplement with online educational activities. Virtual "coffee breaks," meditation, and exercise are part of the curriculum. Online platforms, including WebEx, Google Classroom, and Canvas, are used to continue educational activities. The survey was open May 19 through June 8, 2020.

Results.—: Twenty-eight of the 29 clinical fellows (96%) responded. Many of the respondents indicated substantial increase in their skill with using digital pathology and online platforms during the pandemic. The top most helpful resources were the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology interactive microscopy courses (found very or somewhat helpful by 22 of 23 clinical fellows; 96%), ExpertPath (19 of 23; 82%), the College of American Pathologists virtual learning series (18 of 23; 78%), the World Health Organization Blue Books (16 of 23; 70%), the American Society of Cytopathology webinars (14 of 23; 61%), and our institutional digital slide collection (12 of 23; 52%).

Conclusions.—: Hybrid on-site and remote training can maximize anatomic pathology learning opportunities while maintaining the safety of trainees, hospital personnel, and the community.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5858/arpa.2020-0467-SADOI Listing
January 2021

Prognostic significance of acral lentiginous histologic type in T1 melanoma.

Mod Pathol 2021 03 5;34(3):572-583. Epub 2020 Aug 5.

Department of Pathology, Dermatopathology Section, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA.

Acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM) is a rare type of cutaneous melanoma with a poor prognosis. It is unclear whether the poor outcome of ALM is due to its inherent disease characteristics or advanced stage at initial diagnosis. To address this question, we retrospectively analyzed the clinicopathologic factors of 828 thin (T1; Breslow thickness ≤1.0 mm) melanomas [129 (15.6%) ALMs and 699 (84.4%) non-ALMs] and their nodal and distance metastases and local recurrence rates and determined their relationship with the disease-specific (DSS), overall (OS), and recurrence-free survivals (RFS) at the pathologic stages T1, T1a, and T1b with a median follow-up time of 84.5 months. With the exception of OS at T1b stage, ALM patients showed significantly lower 5- and 10-year DSS, OS, and RFS rates at every pathologic stage when compared with non-ALM. In multivariable analysis, ALM histologic type, SLN positivity, age, and the use of systemic therapy were detected as independent poor prognostic factors associated with significantly lower survival rates. ALM histologic type was associated with lower DSS and OS rates at T1 and T1a stages and lower RFS rates at T1b stage. SLN positivity was associated with lower DSS, OS, and RFS rates at T1, T1a, and T1b stages. Age was associated with lower OS rates at T1 and T1b stages. Whereas the use of systemic therapy was associated with lower DSS rates at T1a stage and RFS rates at T1b stage. In addition, the ALM group showed significantly older median age patients and higher rates of female sex, Hispanic ethnicity, nevoid cytology, non-brisk tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, nodal metastasis, and local recurrence at every pathologic stage of thin melanoma. Our findings suggest that ALM is inherently more aggressive than other types of cutaneous melanoma. This information may be useful for prognostic stratification of patients with thin melanomas, especially to help guide the clinical decision-making for SLN biopsy and patients entering clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41379-020-0641-xDOI Listing
March 2021

Correlative study of epigenetic regulation of tumor microenvironment in spindle cell melanomas and cutaneous malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors.

Sci Rep 2020 08 3;10(1):12996. Epub 2020 Aug 3.

Department of Pathology, NYU Langone Health, NYU Grossman School of Medicine, 550 First Ave, New York, NY, 10016, USA.

The tumor microenvironment (TME) plays critical roles in tumor growth and progression, however key regulators of gene expression in the TME of cutaneous malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (C-MPNST) and spindle cell melanoma (SCM) have not been well elucidated. Herein, we investigate the epigenetic regulation of promoters and gene bodies and their effect on the TME composition of C-MPNSTs and SCMs. A cohort of 30 patients was analyzed using differential gene expression (DGE) and gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) using the Nanostring platform. Methylation analysis was carried out utilizing an Infinium Methylation EPIC array targeting 866,562 methylation site (CpG) islands. DGE revealed overexpression of genes related to mast cells in the TME of SCMs, and a predominance of exhausted CD8 T cells and macrophages in the TME of C-MPNSTs. Interestingly, we further observed promoter hypermethylation in key overexpressed genes and corresponding gene body hypomethylation. Analysis using ENCODE ChIP-sequencing data identified CTCF as the common transcription factor at the site of the hypomethylated probe. These findings support that the TME composition of C-MPNSTs and SCMs is at least partially independent on promoter methylation status, suggesting a possible relationship between gene body enhancers and expression of key TME genes in both entities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-69787-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7398924PMC
August 2020

Mycosis fungoides manifesting as a morbilliform eruption mimicking a viral exanthem.

Cutis 2020 Jun;105(6):E27-E29

Department of Dermatology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, USA.

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June 2020

Langerhans cell sarcoma involving skin and showing epidermotropism: A comprehensive review.

J Cutan Pathol 2021 Apr 7;48(4):547-557. Epub 2020 Sep 7.

Department of Pathology, Dermatopathology Section, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA.

Langerhans cell sarcoma (LCS) is rare and aggressive; patients have an overall survival rate of less than 50%. We present a 62-year-old man with a history of superficial spreading melanoma of the upper back with sentinel lymph node metastasis, Langerhans cell histiocytosis, and LCS. The patient presented with erythematous papules and scaly areas on his face, neck, arms, chest, abdomen, and legs. A skin biopsy revealed a proliferation of large neoplastic cells involving the dermis and with epidermotropism. These cells had atypical bean-shaped nuclei, with ample cytoplasm and abundant mitotic figures including atypical forms. Immunohistochemical studies showed the tumor to be diffusely positive for CD1a, S100 protein, and langerin (CD207) and negative for melanocytic markers. Some tumor cells were positive for cyclin D1. A diagnosis of LCS involving the skin was established. The present study is a very unusual case of LCS showing epidermotropism. The patient's history of metastatic melanoma posed additional challenges for diagnosis, underlying the need of immunophenotyping in these cases. Consensus for optimal standard therapy has not been established in LCS, and thus, early recognition is important since these neoplasms tend to recur and metastasize. LCS in skin is discussed and published cases are comprehensively reviewed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cup.13803DOI Listing
April 2021

Unusual Presentations of Primary and Metastatic Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma Involving the Skin.

Am J Dermatopathol 2020 Dec;42(12):967-971

Department of Pathology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX.

Adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) is most commonly seen in the salivary glands but may occur at other sites. Primary or metastatic involvement of the skin is unusual. We report 2 cases of ACC with unusual presentation. In the first case, a 55-year-old woman presented with a cutaneous lesion on the right shin, and final pathology showed ACC. An extracutaneous origin was excluded by clinical and imaging studies. In the second case, a 49-year-old woman presented with a nodule on the breast, and biopsy confirmed high-grade ACC (>30% solid areas). She underwent lumpectomy and subsequent mastectomy after recurrence. Sixteen months after the initial diagnosis of ACC of the breast, distant metastases at multiple sites, including the skin, were identified. This report will increase awareness of these rare presentations of cutaneous ACC and allow correct diagnosis and appropriate management of such cases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/DAD.0000000000001730DOI Listing
December 2020

Cutaneous adnexal carcinosarcoma: Immunohistochemical and molecular evidence of epithelial mesenchymal transition.

J Cutan Pathol 2021 Apr 14;48(4):526-534. Epub 2020 Sep 14.

Department of Pathology, Dermatopathology Section, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA.

Cutaneous carcinosarcomas are rare biphenotypic tumors that simultaneously show epithelial and mesenchymal differentiation. The most common carcinomatous components in skin carcinosarcomas are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma; adnexal carcinomas are rarely encountered. We report a case of an adnexal carcinoma with ductal and squamous differentiation and spindle cell component, which is interpreted as carcinosarcoma. Loss of immunohistochemical expression of E-cadherin and β-catenin detected in the sarcomatous component suggested epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT). RNA sequencing analysis identified several gene mutations and alterations such as translocations and upregulations/downregulations, either shared by the two components of the tumor or differentially present in the carcinoma or the sarcoma parts. Thus, mutations in genes, such as TP53, were found in both components of the tumor while mutations in PDGFRA and RB1 (a pathogenic missense mutation) were exclusively present in the sarcomatous areas, further supporting EMT. EMT is a dynamic process by which tumors acquire mesenchymal phenotype while simultaneously losing epithelial properties. Although the pathways involved in EMT have been extensively studied, this phenomenon still needs to be investigated in cutaneous tumors of adnexal origin for a better understanding of their pathogenesis. These molecular changes may represent promising targets for personalized therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cup.13782DOI Listing
April 2021

TERT amplification but not activation of canonical Wnt/β-catenin pathway is involved in acral lentiginous melanoma progression to metastasis.

Mod Pathol 2020 10 13;33(10):2067-2074. Epub 2020 May 13.

Department of Pathology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA.

Acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM) is a rare tumor that occurs on non-sun exposed skin areas of the hands and feet. Reports suggest that ALM exhibits poor prognosis, although mechanisms driving this remain poorly understood. Alterations in TERT and the Wnt/β-catenin (Wnt) pathway have been suggested to correlate with prognosis of ALM. Thus, immunohistochemical expression of β-catenin and LEF1 along with TERT amplification by FISH was investigated in 34 primary ALMs, 20 metastatic ALMs, 10 primary non-ALMs, and 15 acral nevi. Foot/toe was the most common primary tumor location (85%) for ALM. TERT amplification was detected in 6 of 28 (21.4%) primary ALM, 2 of 8 (25%) primary non-ALM, and 8 of 18 (44.4%) metastatic ALM, the latter showing significantly higher frequency compared with primary melanomas (P = 0.043). Most metastatic ALMs positive for TERT amplification lacked BRAF V600E (87.5%). Cytoplasmic and nonnuclear expression of β-catenin was variably detected in all cases. Metastatic ALM revealed lower expression of β-catenin compared with primary ALM (P = 0.017). No differences in LEF1 expression were detected among the groups; however, acral nevi showed decreased labeling with dermal descent, in contrast to melanoma. No molecular-genetic alteration correlated with prognosis. TERT amplification by FISH is a frequent finding in primary ALM and appears to increase in metastatic tumors, suggesting a role in tumor progression to metastasis. Although TERT amplification has been reported to be infrequent in primary non-ALM, it showed comparable frequency with ALM in our series. Our immunohistochemical findings are not fully supportive of activation of either canonical or noncanonical Wnt cascades in ALM. TERT amplification by FISH and LEF1 immunohistochemistry may help in the differential diagnosis between primary ALM and acral nevus. TERT amplification appears to be a promising target for therapy in patients with metastatic ALM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41379-020-0565-5DOI Listing
October 2020

Hypertrophic lichenoid dermatitis immune-related adverse event during combined immune checkpoint and exportin inhibitor therapy: A diagnostic pitfall for superficially invasive squamous cell carcinoma.

J Cutan Pathol 2020 Oct 10;47(10):954-959. Epub 2020 Jun 10.

Department of Translational Molecular Pathology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA.

Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) for cancer treatment have revolutionized the field of medicine. However, an unintended but frequent consequence of ICI therapy is the development of cutaneous immune-related adverse events (irAEs), such as lichenoid dermatitis irAEs (LD-irAEs). The hypertrophic variant of LD-irAE may be a diagnostic challenge since it can mimic superficially invasive squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). A 79-year-old woman with metastatic melanoma who began treatment with an ICI-pembrolizumab-plus exportin-1 (XPO1) inhibitor presented after 1 month of therapy with symmetrical violaceous papules coalescing into plaques and with two nodules of the bilateral dorsal hands. Biopsy of the nodules revealed an actinic keratosis and atypical epidermal proliferation concerning for SCC. However, in the ensuing 3 weeks, the patient developed multiple new erythematous, violaceous, and scaly macules and papules, some coalescing into plaques on the extremities. Biopsies of these lesions revealed exuberant irregular epidermal hyperplasia with hypermaturation and lichenoid infiltrate concentrated at the base of the elongated, broadened rete ridges, consistent with hypertrophic LD-irAE. Treatment included topical fluocinonide ointment, intralesional triamcinolone injections and oral acitretin. Distinguishing hypertrophic LD-irAE and SCC can be challenging since both entities share histopathologic features; thus, correlation with clinical presentation is essential for diagnosis and optimal patient management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cup.13739DOI Listing
October 2020

BAP-1 Expression Status by Immunohistochemistry in Cellular Blue Nevus and Blue Nevus-like Melanoma.

Am J Dermatopathol 2020 May;42(5):313-321

Associate Professor, Department of Pathology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX.

The family of blue nevi includes the common blue nevus (BN), cellular blue nevus (CBN), and atypical BN, while melanomas with BN-like morphology can either arise in association with a blue nevus (MABN) or in the de novo setting mimicking cellular blue nevus (MMCBN). Recent molecular and immunohistochemical studies have demonstrated loss of BAP-1 in MABN/MMCBN but not in BN/CBN, suggesting that loss of BAP-1 correlates with a malignant phenotype in these lesions. In this study, we applied anti-BAP-1 antibodies to a series of CBN/BN (n = 11) and MABN/MMCBN (n = 4). Nuclear BAP-1 expression was detected in the majority of CBN/BN (n = 10/11) but was lost in 1 case. Most cases of MABN/MMCBN showed loss of nuclear BAP-1 expression (n = 3/4), with one case of MMCBN showing preserved BAP-1 expression. Demonstration of BAP-1 loss in a single case of CBN and preservation of BAP-1 expression in 1 case of MMCBN may indicate that detection of alterations in BAP-1 protein expression by immunohistochemistry may not be a completely reliable biomarker for the distinction of BN/CBN from MABN/MMCBN. Further investigation of the significance of BAP-1 loss/preservation in BN-like tumors is warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/DAD.0000000000001551DOI Listing
May 2020

T-Cell Repertoire in Combination with T-Cell Density Predicts Clinical Outcomes in Patients with Merkel Cell Carcinoma.

J Invest Dermatol 2020 11 15;140(11):2146-2156.e4. Epub 2020 Apr 15.

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA; Department of Translational and Molecular Pathology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA. Electronic address:

The integrity of the immune system represents a pivotal risk factor and prognostic biomarker for Merkel cell carcinoma. A higher density of tumor-associated T cells correlates with improved Merkel cell carcinoma-specific survival, but the prognostic importance of the T-cell infiltrate reactivity is unknown. We evaluated the T-cell receptor repertoire associated with 72 primary Merkel cell carcinomas and correlated metrics of the T-cell receptor repertoire with clinicopathologic characteristics and patient outcomes. We showed that a high Simpson's Dominance index (SDom) was significantly associated with fewer metastases (P = 0.01), lower stage at presentation (P = 0.02), lower final stage at last follow-up (P = 0.05), and longer time to first lymph node metastasis (P = 0.04). These correlations were mostly preserved in the Merkel cell polyomavirus-negative subgroup. Combining SDom with CD3 or CD8 T-cell density revealed three distinct prognostic groups with respect to disease-specific survival. Patients with both high SDom and high CD3 or CD8 T-cell density had markedly improved disease-specific survival compared with patients with low SDom and low CD3 or CD8 T-cell density (P = 0.002 and P = 0.03, respectively). Patients with either high SDom or high CD3 or CD8 had intermediate disease-specific survival. Our findings demonstrate that the quality of the tumor-associated T-cell infiltrate informs patient prognosis in primary Merkel cell carcinoma beyond the T-cell density.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jid.2020.02.031DOI Listing
November 2020

Decrease in tumor content assessed in biopsies is associated with improved treatment outcome response to pembrolizumab in patients with rare tumors.

J Immunother Cancer 2020 04;8(1)

Department of Investigational Cancer Therapeutics, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA.

Background: Decreased tumor content (TC) in resection specimens after neoadjuvant therapy is used to predict prognosis. We investigated whether TC assessed in biopsy specimens or the shift in TC from baseline to on-treatment can be used accordingly to predict response in patients with rare tumors who were treated with pembrolizumab.

Methods: A total of 57 tumors (represented by 173 baseline and 179 on-treatment biopsies) from 57 patients with rare tumors participating in an ongoing phase II clinical trial of pembrolizumab were evaluated. TC was estimated on H&E-stained slides and tumors were dichotomized into low and high TC according to a cut-off of 10%. Necrosis, proliferative fibrosis (PF) and normal tissue were assessed in on-treatment biopsies. TC at baseline and on-treatment, as well as the shift in TC from baseline to on-treatment, was correlated with clinical response defined according to Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors.

Results: A decrease in TC was seen in 14% (n=8); no change in TC was seen in 75% (n=43); and an increase in TC from baseline to on-treatment was seen in 11% (n=6). Objective response was significantly associated with decrease in TC from baseline to on-treatment (38%, 3/8) compared with no change/increase in TC (6%, 3/49) (p=0.031). Patients with a decrease in TC had a significantly increased time to progression (TTP) (75% probability) compared with patients with an increase (20% probability) or no change in TC (19% probability) (p=0.0042). Low TC was seen in 23% (13/57) of the tumors at baseline and in 26% (15/57) on-treatment. High TC was seen in 77% (44/57) of tumors at baseline and in 74% (42/57) on-treatment. No significant associations with response were seen for necrosis, PF or normal tissue in on-treatment biopsies.

Conclusion: Patients with a decrease in TC from baseline to on-treatment had a significant improvement in objective response and a longer TTP. Our data suggest that the shift in TC might be used to predict response to pembrolizumab in rare tumors. However, further investigations in larger cohorts are needed to determine the clinical value of TC, the shift in TC and the cut-off of 10% assessed in biopsies.

Trial Registration Number: NCT02721732.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2020-000665DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7204618PMC
April 2020

Epithelioid angiomyolipoma mimicking metastatic melanoma in a liver tumor.

J Cutan Pathol 2020 Sep 30;47(9):824-828. Epub 2020 May 30.

Department of Pathology, Dermatopathology Section, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA.

It is well known to pathologists that melanoma is "the great mimicker," looking like almost any other tumor, and able to metastasize anywhere in the body. We report a case of a 48-year-old female with a history of metastatic melanoma 4 years before, who presented with a hepatic mass. Microscopic examination of the liver mass revealed sheets of pleomorphic, epithelioid cells, which expressed a pan-melanocytic cocktail (MART1, HMB45, and tyrosinase). These findings were initially interpreted as metastatic melanoma and the case was transferred for dermatopathology consultation. We compared the morphology of this tumor to the primary melanoma and noticed that the primary melanoma showed nevoid cytology, morphologically distinct from the liver lesion. Consequently, we performed additional immunohistochemical studies, which determined that the liver mass was negative for S100 and SOX10, and established a final diagnosis of epithelioid angiomyolipoma. The key for reaching the correct diagnosis was the morphologic comparison with the original lesion and the evaluation of a wider immunohistochemical profile. For appropriate management in patients with new lesions, even in the context of a patient with known metastatic disease, it is essential to consider other neoplasms in the differential diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cup.13705DOI Listing
September 2020

Three Types of Nodal Melanocytic Nevi in Sentinel Lymph Nodes of Patients With Melanoma: Pitfalls, Immunohistochemistry, and a Review of the Literature.

Am J Dermatopathol 2020 Oct;42(10):739-744

Department of Pathology, The University of Texas-MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX.

The presence or absence of metastasis in sentinel lymph nodes often drives melanoma staging, prognosis, and treatment. However, distinguishing between metastatic melanoma cells and clusters of benign melanocytic nevus cells is not always straightforward. When morphologic hematoxylin and eosin interpretation alone is not sufficient, additional hematoxylin and eosin sections and immunohistochemical (IHC) studies may be beneficial. This review and small cases series of 3 diagnostically challenging melanocytic sentinel lymph node cases highlights the IHC approach to evaluate intraparenchymal nodal melanocytic nevi, coexistent metastatic melanoma with adjacent melanocytic nevi cells, and nodal blue nevi. In challenging cases, cytological morphology of the melanocytes, location within the lymph node, and IHC studies may assist in diagnosis. If these tools yield conflicting results, expert opinion is recommended.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/DAD.0000000000001645DOI Listing
October 2020

Lichen planus related to transforming growth factor beta inhibitor in a patient with metastatic chondrosarcoma: a case report.

J Cutan Pathol 2020 May 27;47(5):490-493. Epub 2020 Jan 27.

Department of Pathology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.

Transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-β1) is expressed in normal epidermis. TGF-β1 potently inhibits keratinocyte proliferation and immunomodulatory properties, mainly by suppressing immune responses to self-antigens. Lichen planus (LP) is a form of dermatitis caused by cell-mediated immune dysfunction, but the exact pathogenic pathways are unknown, which poses therapeutic challenges. We report on a 68-year-old man who developed multiple pruritic, discrete, and well-demarcated, flat-topped red-purple papules and macules on the back and upper arms following 4 cycles of treatment with TGF-β receptor I (TGFBR-I) inhibitor, ly3200882, for metastatic chondrosarcoma. The biopsy showed hyperkeratosis, wedge-shaped hypergranulosis, elongation of the rete ridges, and a dense band-like lymphohistiocytic infiltrate admixed with colloid bodies and pigment incontinence, consistent with LP. Temporal correlation suggested that the TGFBR-I inhibitor might be a trigger. Treatment with topical clobetasol and oral metronidazole led to partial resolution of the lesions with postinflammatory hyperpigmentation. We believe this is the first reported case of LP related to TGFBR-I inhibitor therapy. This report expands the list of cutaneous adverse events associated with this novel class of targeted therapy. More importantly, this report supports emerging evidence that failure of TGF-β1 activation/signal transduction is an important mechanism in the pathogenesis of LP and suggests the TGF-β1 pathway as a potential therapeutic target in this disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cup.13645DOI Listing
May 2020

Aberrant DNA Methylation Predicts Melanoma-Specific Survival in Patients with Acral Melanoma.

Cancers (Basel) 2019 Dec 16;11(12). Epub 2019 Dec 16.

Department of Pathology, Section of Dermatopathology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.

Acral melanoma (AM) is a rare, aggressive type of cutaneous melanoma (CM) with a distinct genetic profile. We aimed to identify a methylome signature distinguishing primary acral lentiginous melanoma (PALM) from primary non-lentiginous AM (NALM), metastatic ALM (MALM), primary non-acral CM (PCM), and acral nevus (AN). A total of 22 PALM, nine NALM, 10 MALM, nine PCM, and three AN were subjected to genome-wide methylation analysis using the Illumina Infinium Methylation EPIC array interrogating 866,562 CpG sites. A prominent finding was that the methylation profiles of PALM and NALM were distinct. Four of the genes most differentially methylated between PALM and NALM or MALM were , , , and . However, when primary AMs (PALM + NALM) were compared with MALM, and were the most differentially methylated, highlighting their pivotal role in the metastatic potential of AMs. Patients with NALM had significantly worse disease-specific survival (DSS) than patients with PALM. Aberrant methylation was significantly associated with aggressive clinicopathologic parameters and worse DSS. Our study emphasizes the importance of distinguishing the two epigenetically distinct subtypes of AM. We also identified novel epigenetic prognostic biomarkers that may serve to risk-stratify patients with AM and may be leveraged for the development of targeted therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers11122031DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6966546PMC
December 2019

Immunohistochemical and Molecular Features of Melanomas Exhibiting Intratumor and Intertumor Histomorphologic Heterogeneity.

Cancers (Basel) 2019 Nov 2;11(11). Epub 2019 Nov 2.

Department of Pathology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.

Melanoma is a heterogeneous neoplasm at the histomorphologic, immunophenotypic, and molecular levels. Melanoma with extreme histomorphologic heterogeneity can pose a diagnostic challenge in which the diagnosis may predominantly rely on its immunophenotypic profile. However, tumor survival and response to therapy are linked to tumor genetic heterogeneity rather than tumor morphology. Therefore, understating the molecular characteristics of such melanomas become indispensable. In this study, DNA was extracted from 11 morphologically distinct regions in eight formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded melanomas. In each region, mutations in 50 cancer-related genes were tested using next-generation sequencing (NGS). A tumor was considered genetically heterogeneous if at least one non-overlapping mutation was identified either between the histologically distinct regions of the same tumor (intratumor heterogeneity) or among the histologically distinct regions of the paired primary and metastatic tumors within the same patient (intertumor heterogeneity). Our results revealed that genetic heterogeneity existed in all tumors as non-overlapping mutations were detected in every tested tumor ( = 5, 100%; intratumor: = 2, 40%; intertumor: = 3, 60%). Conversely, overlapping mutations were also detected in all the tested regions ( = 11, 100%). Melanomas exhibiting histomorphologic heterogeneity are often associated with genetic heterogeneity, which might contribute to tumor survival and poor response to therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111714DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6896082PMC
November 2019

Unusual cutaneous metastatic carcinoma.

Ann Diagn Pathol 2019 Dec 12;43:151399. Epub 2019 Aug 12.

Department of Pathology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA. Electronic address:

Most of metastatic tumors to the skin are from primary tumors of the breast, lung, or from melanoma; metastases to the skin from primary carcinomas at other sites are rare. Cutaneous metastases of visceral carcinomas most often occur in patients with advanced disease, and are associated with a poor prognosis. We report 6 cases of nonmammary, nonpulmonary carcinoma metastatic to the skin. Most patients were elderly with advanced disease at the time of diagnosis of skin metastasis. The primary tumor sites included the thyroid, esophagus, biliary tract, ovary, and prostate. Awareness of these rare cases of metastasis to the skin will help pathologists and clinicians make the correct diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anndiagpath.2019.08.003DOI Listing
December 2019

Correlation of Tumor Burden in Sentinel Lymph Nodes with Tumor Burden in Nonsentinel Lymph Nodes and Survival in Cutaneous Melanoma.

Clin Cancer Res 2019 12 30;25(24):7585-7593. Epub 2019 Sep 30.

Department of Pathology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.

Purpose: In patients with cutaneous melanoma, metastasis in a nonsentinel lymph node (non-SLN) is a strong independent adverse prognostic factor. However, patients with a tumor-involved SLN no longer routinely undergo completion lymph node dissection (CLND). We hypothesized that SLN tumor burden may predict non-SLN tumor burden.

Experimental Design: We compared tumor burden parameters between SLN and non-SLN in patients with cutaneous melanoma who underwent SLN biopsy with a positive SLN during 2003 to 2008 at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Results: We identified 336 eligible patients with a positive SLN. Of these, 308 (92%) underwent CLND, and 35 (10%) had non-SLN metastasis. The median follow-up time was 6.0 years. For patients with maximum diameter of tumor in the SLN ≤2.0 mm, >2.0-5.0 mm, and >5.0 mm, non-SLN metastasis was detected in 5 of 200 patients (3%), 10 of 63 patients (16%), and 20 of 57 patients (35%), and the mean maximum diameters of the non-SLN tumor deposits were 0.09, 1.56, and 2.71 mm, respectively ( < 0.0001). The percentage of patients with both subcapsular and intraparenchymal non-SLN tumor was higher for patients with SLN tumor in both locations than for patients with SLN tumor in only one location ( < 0.0001). Extranodal extension in a non-SLN was more common in patients with extranodal extension in an SLN ( = 0.003).

Conclusions: In patients with cutaneous melanoma who undergo CLND, SLN tumor burden predicts non-SLN tumor burden. SLN tumor burden parameters provide accurate prognostic stratification independent of non-SLN status and should be considered for incorporation into future staging systems and integrated risk models.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-19-1194DOI Listing
December 2019

Measurement of Tumor Thickness in Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinomas: Do the Different Methods Provide Better Prognostic Data?

Am J Dermatopathol 2020 May;42(5):337-342

Department of Pathology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX.

Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) is the second most common cause of nonmelanoma skin cancers. Although it has a relatively low mortality rate, it may be locally destructive and potentially metastasize. Tumor thickness of the primary lesion is one important parameter associated with biologic behavior. Such measurement is currently performed in different ways depending on the anatomic location and subspecialty (eg, skin vs. head and neck vs. gynecologic pathology). Furthermore, the new The American Joint Committee on Cancer eighth edition has changed the previously recommended method of measurement of cSCC of head and neck from a modified Breslow thickness to measuring from the granular layer of adjacent, normal-appearing skin to the deepest invasive tumor cell. This study evaluated the clinical significance on patient outcome by measuring tumor thickness using 4 common, currently available methods (measurement from: A. uninvolved dermoepidermal junction; B. top of granular cell layer of the epidermis overlying the tumor, that is, similar to Breslow thickness; C. dermoepidermal junction with in situ cSCC; D. top of granular layer of uninvolved skin) in 85 specimens from nongenital areas of 78 patients with cSCC. Thirty-five percent of them were from the head and neck area. Measurements were performed in millimeters using the digital ruler of image analysis software (Olympus cellSens Standard) on whole-slide scanned images. Associations between recurrence-free survival (RFS) and each method were assessed. When thickness was considered as a continuous measure, there was no statistically significant association between any of the 4 measurement techniques and RFS. When using the currently recommended 6.0-mm cutoff, methods B and C were significantly associated with RFS. Similarly, when optimal cutoff values were selected, all 4 methods were significantly associated with RFS in univariable analysis. However, in a multivariable model that included the techniques and location of lesion, only method B, using the optimal cutoff value of 8.7 mm, was independently associated with RFS. In summary, in our series of cSCC, measurement of thickness using a Breslow method (method B) was significantly associated with RFS using the optimal cutoff and the currently recommended 6.0 mm in univariable analyses and the optimal cutoff in a multivariable assessment. Therefore, our data indicate that measurement of tumor thickness in a manner similar to Breslow thickness may be used to help predict recurrence in patients with cSCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/DAD.0000000000001511DOI Listing
May 2020