PEComa-like Neoplasms Characterized by ASPSCR1-TFE3 Fusion: Another Face of TFE3-related Mesenchymal Neoplasia

Am J Surg Pathol. 2022 Aug 1;46(8):1153-1159. doi: 10.1097/PAS.0000000000001894. Epub 2022 Apr 5.


Identical TFE3-related gene fusions may be found in renal cell carcinoma and mesenchymal neoplasms such as alveolar soft part sarcoma and TFE3-rearranged perivascular epithelioid cell tumor (PEComa). Among mesenchymal neoplasms, the ASPSCR1-TFE3 gene fusion has previously been described only in alveolar soft part sarcoma. We report 3 unusual mesenchymal neoplasms harboring the ASPSCR1-TFE3 gene fusion, the morphologic phenotype of which more closely matches PEComa rather than alveolar soft part sarcoma. All 3 neoplasms occurred in females ranging in age from 18 to 34 years and were located in the viscera (kidney, bladder, and uterus). All 3 contained nests of epithelioid cells bounded by fibrovascular septa. However, all were associated with hyalinized stroma, tight nested architecture, mixed spindle cell and epithelioid pattern, clear cytoplasm, and lacked significant discohesion. Overall, morphologic features closely resembled PEComa, being distinct from the typical alveolar soft part sarcoma phenotype. While none of the neoplasms labeled for HMB45, cytokeratin, or PAX8 all showed positivity for TFE3 and cathepsin K, and all except 1 were positive for smooth muscle actin. One patient developed a liver metastasis 7 years after nephrectomy. These cases bridge the gap between 2 TFE3-rearranged neoplasms, specifically alveolar soft part sarcoma and Xp11 translocation PEComa, highlighting the relatedness and overlap among Xp11 translocation neoplasms. While most TFE3-rearranged neoplasms can be confidently placed into a specific diagnostic category such as alveolar soft part sarcoma, PEComa, or Xp11 translocation renal cell carcinoma, occasional cases have overlapping features, highlighting the potential role that the cell of origin and the specific gene fusion play in the phenotype of these neoplasms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell* / pathology
  • Female
  • Gene Fusion
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / genetics
  • Kidney Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Kidney Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Perivascular Epithelioid Cell Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Perivascular Epithelioid Cell Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Perivascular Epithelioid Cell Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Sarcoma, Alveolar Soft Part* / diagnosis
  • Translocation, Genetic


  • ASPSCR1 protein, human
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • TFE3 protein, human