Immunocytochemical and ultrastructural studies of the histogenesis of Ewing's sarcoma and putatively related tumors

Cancer. 1989 Jul 1;64(1):52-62. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(19890701)64:1<52::aid-cncr2820640110>;2-6.


The histogenesis of Ewing's sarcoma (EW) and extraskeletal Ewing's sarcoma (EEW) is still disputable. Their relationship to the so-called Askin's tumor, neuroectodermal tumor of bone, and peripheral neuroblastoma remains to be established. In an attempt to clarify these points, immunocytochemical and ultrastructural studies were done on tissues from 14 cases of EW, 4 cases of EEW, and 9 cases of primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET) and compared with neuroblastoma and olfactory neuroblastoma. Six tumors categorized initially as EW and EEW on biopsy, turned out to be PNET by extensive histologic and/or ultrastructural observations. Abundant glycogen was recognized not only in 16 of 18 cases of EW and EEW, but also in seven of nine cases of PNET. Fine fibrillar cell processes were seen between tumor cells, at least in limited areas even in cases of EW and EEW. Immunocytochemically, neuron-specific enolase (NSE), neuroblastoma cell surface antigen (NBCA), neuron cell surface antigen (NCSA), and neurofilament (NF) were demonstrated not only in neuroblastoma, but also frequently in cases of EW, EEW, and PNET. The results seem to suggest that EW and EEW represent the most immature forms of neuroectodermal tumor. Electron microscopic study showed predominantly primitive cells with occasional areas of cell processes, neurosecretory granules, and microtubules, suggesting a neuroectodermal origin.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antigens, Surface / analysis
  • Bone Neoplasms / analysis
  • Bone Neoplasms / ultrastructure
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / analysis
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / ultrastructure*
  • Neuroblastoma / analysis
  • Neuroblastoma / ultrastructure*
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase / analysis
  • S100 Proteins / analysis
  • Sarcoma, Ewing / analysis
  • Sarcoma, Ewing / ultrastructure*
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / analysis
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / ultrastructure


  • Antigens, Surface
  • S100 Proteins
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase