A uterine leiomyosarcoma that became positive for HMB45 in the metastasis

Ann Diagn Pathol. 2005 Feb;9(1):43-5. doi: 10.1053/j.anndiagpath.2004.10.011.


Uterine smooth muscle tumors are usually spindle cell lesions, but a minority is composed of epithelioid cells. Foci of clear cells can be found in these latter tumors. Recently, it has been shown that some of these tumors can be positive for HMB45, and some authors have advocated calling these lesions perivascular epithelioid cell (PEC) tumors or PEComas. The case we describe here clearly shows that the so called PEC is just a smooth muscle cell capable of changing its immunophenotype. The patient involved is a 29-year-old black woman who was found to have an epithelioid leiomyosarcoma of the uterus in November 1995. She was treated with a simple hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. A metastatic lesion was found in her liver. She, therefore, also received chemotherapy and was free of disease until October 2002, when a recurrent tumor was detected in her spine. After undergoing resection of the lesion at 2 different times, in 2002 and 2003, the patient was treated with radiotherapy and is currently receiving chemotherapy. On microscopic examination, the tumor in the uterus and liver both proved to be an epithelioid leiomyosarcomas that was diffusely positive for smooth muscle actin. Approximately 15% of the cells had clear cytoplasm, but sections from 2 different blocks were completely negative for HMB45. However, although the tumors resected from the spine in 2002 and 2003 showed features similar to those of the uterine neoplasm, but with a lower percentage of cells positive for smooth muscle actin and more clear cells, several of the clear cells were positive for HMB45. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case of a uterine smooth muscle cell tumor that became positive for HMB45 when it metastasized.

MeSH terms

  • Actins / analysis
  • Adult
  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Cell Count
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Epithelioid Cells / chemistry
  • Epithelioid Cells / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leiomyosarcoma / chemistry
  • Leiomyosarcoma / secondary*
  • Leiomyosarcoma / therapy
  • Liver Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Melanoma-Specific Antigens
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / pathology
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / therapy
  • Neoplasm Proteins* / analysis
  • Uterine Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Uterine Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Uterine Neoplasms / therapy


  • Actins
  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Melanoma-Specific Antigens
  • Neoplasm Proteins