Detection and characterization of EWSR1/ATF1 and EWSR1/CREB1 chimeric transcripts in clear cell sarcoma (melanoma of soft parts)

Mod Pathol. 2009 Sep;22(9):1201-9. doi: 10.1038/modpathol.2009.85. Epub 2009 Jun 26.


Unlike melanoma, clear cell sarcoma harbors either a t(12;22)(q13;q12) recurrent translocation, resulting in an EWSR1/ATF1 chimeric gene, or less commonly a t(2;22)(q34;q12) translocation fusing EWSR1 and CREB1. Few studies have examined the prevalence of all chimeric types and variants to assess the usage of ancillary genetic testing in routine diagnosis. We investigated rearrangement prevalence in 17 clear cell sarcomas, two positive control cell lines, and two melanomas (negative controls). Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis using the LSI EWSR1 break-apart probe and a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay optimized for formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue to detect all four reported EWSR1/ATF1 clear cell sarcoma chimeric types and the EWSR1/CREB1 variant was performed. All 15 cases available for testing by FISH were positive for EWSR1 rearrangement including two cases with insufficient RNA for RT-PCR. Thirteen of 15 cases successfully tested by RT-PCR harbored a type 1 chimeric transcript (EWSR1 exon 8/ATF1 exon 4), of which five tumors simultaneously carried a type 2 chimeric transcript (EWSR1 exon 7/ATF1 exon 5). One case carried a type 2 transcript alone and one case contained an EWSR1/CREB1 transcript. Both control cases were positive by both techniques with one case carrying both types 1 and 2 chimeric transcripts and the other types 2 and 3 (EWSR1 exon 10/ATF1 exon 5). Consequently, both techniques are equally effective in assessing for an EWSR1 rearrangement and are useful ancillary diagnostic tests for clear cell sarcoma. They also reinforce the prevalence of this translocation in these tumors. In addition, EWSR1-CREB1 was identified in a clear cell sarcoma of soft tissue providing further evidence that this chimeric variant is not exclusive to gastrointestinal clear cell sarcomas and should be included in RT-PCR assays of soft tissue clear cell sarcomas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • CREB-Binding Protein / genetics*
  • Calmodulin-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion / genetics*
  • RNA-Binding Protein EWS
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sarcoma, Clear Cell / genetics*
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Young Adult


  • Calmodulin-Binding Proteins
  • EWS-ATF1 fusion protein, human
  • EWSR1 protein, human
  • EWSR1-CREB1 fusion protein, human
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion
  • RNA-Binding Protein EWS
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • CREB-Binding Protein
  • CREBBP protein, human