Myoepithelial neoplasms of soft tissue: an updated review of the clinicopathologic, immunophenotypic, and genetic features

Head Neck Pathol. 2015 Mar;9(1):32-8. doi: 10.1007/s12105-015-0618-0. Epub 2015 Mar 25.


Myoepithelial tumors in skin and soft tissue are uncommon but have been increasingly characterized over the past decade. Men and women are equally affected across all age groups and lesions arise most frequently on the extremities and limb girdles. Approximately 20 % of cases occur in pediatric patients, in whom they are frequently malignant. Similar to their salivary gland counterparts, myoepithelial tumors of soft tissue demonstrate heterogeneous morphologic and immunophenotypic features. Tumors are classified as mixed tumor/chondroid syringoma, myoepithelioma, and myoepithelial carcinoma; in soft tissue, tumors having at least moderate cytologic atypia are classified as malignant. Mixed tumor and myoepithelioma show a benign clinical course, with recurrence in up to 20 % (typically secondary to incomplete excision), and do not metastasize. In contrast, myoepithelial carcinoma shows more aggressive behavior with recurrence and metastasis in up to 40-50 % of cases. The majority of myoepithelial neoplasms typically coexpress epithelial antigens (cytokeratin and/or EMA) and S-100 protein; GFAP and p63 are frequently positive and a subset of malignant neoplasms lose INI1 expression. Up to 45 % of myoepitheliomas and myoepithelial carcinomas harbor EWSR1 gene rearrangements, unlike mixed tumor/chondroid syringoma which is characterized by PLAG1 gene rearrangement. While mixed tumor/chondroid syringoma are likely related to primary salivary myoepithelial tumors, soft tissue myoepithelioma and myoepithelial carcinoma appear to be pathologically distinct neoplasms.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Male
  • Myoepithelioma / genetics
  • Myoepithelioma / pathology*
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / pathology*