Cyclin D1 expression and molecular genetic findings in periocular histiocytoses and neoplasms of macrophage-dendritic cell lineage

Am J Ophthalmol. 2022 May 17;S0002-9394(22)00199-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2022.05.009. Online ahead of print.


Purpose: Frequent activating mutations in the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway genes have been identified in histiocytoses. MAPK signaling consistently upregulates Cyclin D1. The goal of this study was to determine whether Cyclin D1 expression by immunohistochemistry is a useful diagnostic marker for periocular histiocytoses and to further characterize their genetic basis.

Design: Retrospective observational case series.

Methods: Pathology records were searched for all patients with histiocytoses diagnosed between 1995-2020. Eleven histiocyte-rich inflammatory lesions and 10 xanthelasma served as controls. Cyclin D1 immunohistochemistry was performed on all tissues. A subset of histiocytoses was evaluated by next-generation sequencing (NGS) and droplet digital PCR (ddPCR).

Results: There were 36 patients, 15 (42%) males and 21 (58%) females, with histiocytoses: 9 (25%) juvenile xanthogranuloma, 8 (22%) adult-onset asthma and periocular xanthogranuloma, 7 (19%) Langerhans cell histiocytosis, 5 (14%) Rosai-Dorfman disease, 5 (14%) xanthogranuloma not otherwise specified, 1 (3%) Erdheim-Chester disease, and 1 (3%) histiocytic sarcoma. Moderate-to-strong nuclear Cyclin D1 expression was present in ≥50% of lesional cells in histiocytoses (23/36, 64%), significantly more when compared to histiocyte-rich inflammatory lesions (0/11, 0%, P<.001) and xanthelasma (0/10, 0%, P<.001). Cyclin D1 was expressed in <10% of lesional cells in all 11 histiocyte-rich inflammatory lesions (P<.001) and all 10 xanthelasma lesions (P<.001). MAPK pathway gene mutations were detected in 12 of 14 (86%) histiocytoses successfully assayed by NGS and/or ddPCR.

Conclusions: Our study confirms that the Cyclin D1 immunohistochemical stain is a useful diagnostic marker for periocular histiocytoses, correlating with underlying mutations in MAPK pathway genes.