Background: Poorly differentiated midline carcinoma with a translocation between chromosomes 15 and 19, i.e. t(15;19), has been recognized as a distinct clinical entity for over a decade. This tumor affects young individuals, shows a rapidly fatal clinical course despite intensive therapy. The t(15;19) results in the fusion oncogene BRD4-NUT. Information concerning treatment of this rare disorder is scarce.
Case presentation: A 30-year-old woman was admitted with a rapidly progressing tumor in the mediastinum, cervical lymph nodes, vertebral column and the epidural space. Pathological, cytogenetic, FISH and PCR analysis revealed a glycogenated carcinoma rarely expressing cytokeratins and showing t(15;19) and BRD4-NUT gene rearrangement. The patient was initially treated with a Ewing sarcoma chemotherapy regimen, but had rapid progression after two cycles. She then received docetaxel and radiotherapy, which resulted in almost complete disappearance of the tumor.
Conclusion: Docetaxel may be considered for initial chemotherapy in young patients presenting with a midline carcinoma with bone marrow involvement and cytogenetic and molecular genetic finding of a t(15;19)/BRD4-NUT-rearrangement. We herein describe, in detail, the laboratory methods by which the BRD4-NUT -rearrangement can be detected.