Plaque-like CD34-positive dermal fibroma ("medallion-like dermal dendrocyte hamartoma"): clinicopathologic, immunohistochemical, and molecular analysis of 5 cases emphasizing its distinction from superficial, plaque-like dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans

Am J Surg Pathol. 2010 Feb;34(2):190-201. doi: 10.1097/PAS.0b013e3181c7cf11.


Medallion-like dermal dendrocyte hamartoma (DH) and superficial (plaque-like) dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP) are CD34-positive dermal neoplasms with overlapping clinicopathologic features. We analyzed the clinical, histomorphologic, and molecular criteria of 5 DH and 7 DFSP to delineate diagnostically relevant differences between incipient dermal DFSP and its benign look-alike, DH. We expand the clinical and histologic spectrum of DH. As medallion-like dermal DH is neither of dermal dendrocyte lineage nor a genuine hamartoma, we propose instead the descriptive term of plaque-like CD34-positive dermal fibroma (PDF). Both PDF/DH and DFSP presented as slightly pigmented and indurated plaques on neck, trunk, and extremities. Histologically, DFSP was characterized either by horizontally oriented spindle cell fascicles or by diffusely arranged fibroblasts within a slightly myxoid stroma in the upper two-thirds of the dermis, whereas PDF/DH presented with a cellular band-like fibroblastic proliferation mostly in the papillary and adjacent upper reticular dermis. Only one congenital PDF/DH in a 9-year-old boy extended into the septa of the subcutaneous fat. Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded archival tissue was used for detection of the COL1A1-PDGFB gene rearrangement by multiplex reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and by dual color fusion fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH). Archival blocs older than 4 years did not yield amplifiable RNA because of RNA degradation, whereas FISH analysis was feasible in all investigated cases. FISH analysis revealed COL1A1-PDGFB gene rearrangement in all DFSP cases (n=7), whereas RT-PCR could detect the COL1A1-PDGFB fusion transcript only in 1 DFSP. Two cases were negative. In 4 archival cases with storage between 4.5 and 12 years, RNA had been degraded making these cases unsuitable for RT-PCR. In PDF/DH, both RT-PCR and FISH analysis did not reveal any evidence of COL1A1-PDGFB gene rearrangement. We show that PDF/DH and superficial (plaque-like) DFSP, subtle clinicopathologic differences notwithstanding, are morphologic look-alikes that can be kept apart by molecular studies of the COL1A1-PDGFB gene fusion. For the detection of the COL1A1-PDGFB gene rearrangement in diagnostically difficult cases, RT-PCR and FISH analysis are reliable and helpful diagnostic tools. In archival formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue, however, FISH analysis is more robust and exhibits a higher clinical sensitivity than RT-PCR.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antigens, CD34 / metabolism*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Child
  • Dermatofibrosarcoma / diagnosis*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Fibroma / diagnosis*
  • Fibroma / genetics
  • Fibroma / metabolism
  • Gene Rearrangement
  • Hamartoma / diagnosis*
  • Hamartoma / genetics
  • Hamartoma / metabolism
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion / genetics
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Skin Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics
  • Skin Neoplasms / metabolism


  • Antigens, CD34
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • COLIA1-PDGFB fusion protein, human
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion