Identification of CARS-ALK Fusion in Primary and Metastatic Lesions of an Inflammatory Myofibroblastic Tumor

Lab Invest. 2003 Sep;83(9):1255-65. doi: 10.1097/01.lab.0000088856.49388.ea.


Inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor (IMT) is a rare childhood neoplasm. The natural history of this disease is poorly understood. Recently chromosomal rearrangements involving the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene have been implicated in this tumor. We have studied a case of ALK-positive soft tissue IMT showing clinical and morphologic features of malignancy. Interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization demonstrated ALK rearrangements in both primary and metastatic lesions. Rapid amplification of cDNA ends (5'RACE) identified cysteinyl-tRNA synthetase (CARS) gene fused to ALK, which predicts an in-frame chimeric protein with the preserved functional catalytic domain of ALK at the C terminus. Amplification and sequencing of tumor DNA confirmed the breakpoint at the genomic level. Restriction analysis of DNA from primary soft tissue and recurrent lung tumors showed identical patterns, indicating the same clonal origin of both lesions. Western blot analysis with C-terminus ALK antibody showed expression of an aberrantly sized chimeric protein of approximately 130 kd in tumor tissue. This is the second case of IMT demonstrating CARS as the ALK fusion partner, which confirms the recurring involvement of ALK in IMT by a common genetic mechanism. Moreover, identical clonality of separate lesions involving different sites supports metastasis in IMT.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acyl-tRNA Synthetases / genetics*
  • Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase
  • Blotting, Western
  • Child
  • Clone Cells
  • DNA, Neoplasm / analysis
  • Fibroblasts / pathology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Neck / pathology
  • Neoplasms, Muscle Tissue / genetics*
  • Neoplasms, Muscle Tissue / secondary
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion / genetics*
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics*
  • RNA, Neoplasm / analysis
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / pathology
  • Spectral Karyotyping
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion
  • RNA, Neoplasm
  • ALK protein, human
  • Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Amino Acyl-tRNA Synthetases
  • cysteinyl-tRNA synthetase