Nuclear Expression of CAMTA1 Distinguishes Epithelioid Hemangioendothelioma From Histologic Mimics

Am J Surg Pathol. 2016 Jan;40(1):94-102. doi: 10.1097/PAS.0000000000000511.


Epithelioid hemangioendothelioma (EHE) is a malignant endothelial neoplasm characterized by recurrent translocations involving chromosomal regions 1p36.3 and 3q25, resulting in the formation of a WWTR1-CAMTA1 fusion gene in approximately 90% of cases; a small subset (<5%) have a YAP1-TFE3 fusion gene. The WWTR1-CAMTA1 fusion gene leads to overexpression of both genes. WWTR1 protein is expressed in many different cell types, whereas CAMTA1 expression is normally limited to the brain. A prior study using a polyclonal antibody directed against regions within the C-terminus of CAMTA1 reported widespread expression in both normal tissues and diverse tumor types. In contrast, a recent study using a different polyclonal antibody directed against the C-terminus of CAMTA1 suggested that this other antibody is a potentially useful diagnostic marker for EHE. Our study aimed to validate this finding in a large series of EHE cases and to determine whether CAMTA1 is expressed in other epithelioid mesenchymal tumors that may mimic EHE. Protein expression of CAMTA1 was evaluated in whole-tissue sections of 204 tumors using a polyclonal anti-CAMTA1 antibody: 59 EHE (48 conventional, 11 "malignant"; 4 with known TFE3 gene rearrangement); 70 other epithelioid vascular tumors; and 75 nonendothelial epithelioid mesenchymal neoplasms. In total, 51/59 cases (86%) of EHE showed diffuse nuclear staining for CAMTA1, including 44/48 cases (92%) with conventional histology and 7/11 cases (64%) with "malignant" histology. Of the 8 CAMTA1-negative tumors, 6 were positive for TFE3. With the exception of 1 case previously diagnosed as epithelioid angiosarcoma on core biopsy, all other tumor types examined were negative for CAMTA1. In conclusion, in keeping with the reported frequency of WWTR1-CAMTA1 in EHE, nuclear CAMTA1 expression is identified in the majority of EHE cases, whereas other epithelioid mesenchymal neoplasms are negative for CAMTA1. These findings support the diagnostic utility of immunohistochemistry for CAMTA1 in distinguishing EHE from histologic mimics, in particular benign epithelioid vascular tumors, epithelioid angiosarcoma, and epithelioid sarcoma, an important distinction given the differences in biological potential and clinical course.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Biopsy
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / analysis*
  • Cell Nucleus / chemistry*
  • Cell Nucleus / pathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Hemangioendothelioma, Epithelioid / chemistry*
  • Hemangioendothelioma, Epithelioid / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Trans-Activators / analysis*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • CAMTA1 protein, human
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Trans-Activators