The Current Status of Solitary Fibrous Tumor: Diagnostic Features, Variants, and Genetics

Int J Surg Pathol. 2016 Jun;24(4):281-92. doi: 10.1177/1066896915627485. Epub 2016 Jan 25.


Solitary fibrous tumor (SFT) is a fibroblastic mesenchymal tumor originally described in the pleura but now shown at almost every anatomic site. Histopathologically, SFT is characteristically a circumscribed neoplasm composed of variably cellular and patternless distributions of bland spindle and ovoid cells within prominent collagenous stroma and shows diffuse expression of CD34, but it has a broad spectrum of both morphology and of biologic behavior. Many different names (particularly hemangiopericytoma) were previously used in the course of our understanding of this neoplasm but are now subsumed under the term "SFT," and the putative cell of origin was debated. However, it is now recognized that SFT is a translocation-associated neoplasm, consistently associated with NAB2-STAT6 gene fusions arising from recurrent intrachromosomal rearrangements on chromosome 12q, and this translocation is a likely major contributor to its pathogenesis. While most SFT with classical morphologic features behave in an indolent manner and those with overtly malignant histologic features tend to be aggressive neoplasms that behave as high-grade sarcomas, the behavior of SFT is unpredictable, and it is important to be aware of the propensity for aggressive behavior in a minority of histologically classical SFT and to ensure adequate clinical follow-up. Surgical excision remains the treatment gold standard; while radiotherapy and conventional chemotherapeutic agents have only shown limited efficacy, further understanding of the molecular events underlying tumorigenesis may allow the development of novel targeted treatments. We review SFT, discussing the morphologic spectrum and variants, including malignant and dedifferentiated subtypes, clinicopathological aspects, recent molecular genetic findings, and the differential diagnosis.

Keywords: NAB2-STAT6; STAT6; dedifferentiation; fat-forming soft tissue tumor; gene rearrangement; genetics; giant cell angiofibroma; hemangiopericytoma; lipomatous hemangiopericytoma; malignant; pathology; sarcoma; solitary fibrous tumor; translocation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Solitary Fibrous Tumors*