Analysis by comparative genomic hybridization of epithelial and spindle cell components in sarcomatoid carcinoma and carcinosarcoma: histogenetic aspects

J Pathol. 1999 Nov;189(3):338-43. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1096-9896(199911)189:3<338::AID-PATH429>3.0.CO;2-Q.


Sarcomatoid carcinomas and carcinosarcomas are histologically malignant biphasic neoplasms with an epithelial and a spindle cell component. Both a polyclonal and a monoclonal origin have been postulated for these tumours, but the latter has been favoured. For carcinosarcoma, the stem cell from which the epithelial and mesenchymal components are derived is expected to be more immature than the epithelial stem cell from which different components of sarcomatoid carcinoma originate, since in the latter, immunohistochemical or ultrastructural epithelial characteristics are still detectable. In the present study, comparative genomic hybridization was used to test the hypothesis that both tumour components in sarcomatoid carcinoma have more chromosomal aberrations in common than those in carcinosarcoma. From three sarcomatoid carcinomas originating from the urinary bladder and two carcinosarcomas from the pharynx, the epithelial and spindle cell components were microdissected and analysed for their respective chromosomal aberrations, using comparative genomic hybridization. High-level homology was seen in chromosomal aberrations between the different components in each tumour. This level of homology was even higher in the carcinosarcomas (65 and 91 per cent) than in both sarcomatoid carcinomas (21-51 per cent). The different phenotypic components of both sarcomatoid carcinoma and carcinosarcoma show a large overlap of chromosomal aberrations, strongly suggesting a monoclonal origin for all of these tumours. These findings do not support the hypothesis that the divergence between epithelial and spindle cell components occurs at an earlier stage in carcinosarcomas than in sarcomatoid carcinoma.

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma / genetics*
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Carcinosarcoma / genetics*
  • Carcinosarcoma / pathology
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Epithelial Cells / pathology
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Karyotyping
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / pathology
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization / methods
  • Sarcoma / genetics*
  • Sarcoma / pathology
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / pathology