MFH classification: differentiating undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma in the 21st Century

Expert Rev Anticancer Ther. 2009 Aug;9(8):1135-44. doi: 10.1586/era.09.76.


The essence and origin of malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH) have been debated for now close to five decades. Originally characterized as a morphologically unique soft-tissue sarcoma subtype of unclear etiology in 1963, with a following 15 years of research only to conclude that "the issue of histogenesis [of MFH] is largely unresolvable"; it is "now regarded as synonymous with [high grade] undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma and essentially represents a diagnosis of exclusion". Yet despite this apparent lack of progress, the first decade of the 21st century has seen some significant progress in terms of defining the origins of MFH. Perhaps more importantly these origins might also pave the way for novel therapies. This manuscript will highlight MFH's troubled history, discuss recent advances, and comment as to what the coming years may promise and what further needs to be done to make sure that progress continues.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Histiocytoma, Malignant Fibrous / classification
  • Histiocytoma, Malignant Fibrous / diagnosis*
  • Histiocytoma, Malignant Fibrous / history
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Sarcoma / diagnosis*
  • Sarcoma / pathology