Perivascular epithelioid cell tumors, or PEComas, are mesenchymal neoplasms composed of histologically and immunohistochemically distinctive epithelioid or spindle cells, which are immunoreactive for both smooth muscle and melanocytic markers. The cells in PEComas are typically arranged around blood vessels and appear to form the vessel wall, often infiltrating the smooth muscle of small- to medium-sized vessels. Periluminal cells are usually epithelioid and the more peripheral cells are spindle shaped. The cells have small, round to oval nuclei, sometimes with focal nuclear atypia, and clear to eosinophilic cytoplasm, and no counterpart normal cell has been identified. The PEComa "family" now includes angiomyolipoma, pulmonary clear cell "sugar" tumor and lymphangioleiomyomatosis, primary extrapulmonary sugar tumor, clear cell myomelanocytic tumor of the falciform ligament/ligamentum teres, abdominopelvic sarcoma of perivascular epithelioid cells, and other tumors with similar features at various sites that are simply termed PEComa. Some PEComas occur in patients with tuberous sclerosis complex and share the genetic abnormalities. There is a behavioral spectrum from benign to frankly malignant, and histologic criteria have been proposed for assessing malignant potential. The differential diagnosis can include carcinomas, smooth muscle tumors, other clear cell neoplasms, and adipocytic tumors. PEComas constitute a genetically diverse group that includes neoplasms harboring TFE3 gene rearrangements and those with TSC2 mutations, indicating alternative tumorigenic pathways. Recent advances in therapy of malignant PEComas relate to increased knowledge of specific genetic changes and their effects on metabolic pathways that are susceptible to specific interventions. We review PEComas, emphasizing the diagnostic spectrum and recent immunohistochemical and genetic findings.
Keywords: Angiomyolipoma; Clear cell myomelanocytic tumor; Lymphangioleiomyomatosis; Perivascular epithelioid cell tumor; Sirolimus; TFE3; Tuberous sclerosis.
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