Extraenteric Malignant Gastrointestinal Neuroectodermal Tumor-A Clinicopathologic and Molecular Genetic Study of 11 Cases

Mod Pathol. 2023 Jul;36(7):100160. doi: 10.1016/j.modpat.2023.100160. Epub 2023 Mar 17.


Malignant gastrointestinal neuroectodermal tumors (MGNETs), also known as "gastrointestinal clear cell sarcoma-like tumors", are very rare, aggressive sarcomas characterized by enteric location, distinctive pathologic features, and EWSR1/FUS::ATF1/CREB1 fusions. Despite identical genetics, the clinicopathologic features of MGNET are otherwise quite different from those of clear cell sarcoma of soft parts. Only exceptional extraenteric MGNET (E-MGNET) has been reported. We report a series of 11 E-MGNETs, the largest to date. Cases diagnosed with MGNET and occurring in nonintestinal locations were retrieved. A clinical follow-up was obtained. The tumors occurred in 3 men and 8 women (range, 14-70 years of age; median, 33 years) and involved the soft tissues of the neck (3), shoulder (1), buttock (2), orbit (1), tongue/parapharyngeal space (1), urinary bladder (1), and falciform ligament/liver (1). Tumors showed morphologic features of enteric MGNET (small, relatively uniform, round to ovoid cells with round, regular nuclei containing small nucleoli growing in multinodular and vaguely lobular patterns, with solid, pseudoalveolar, and pseudopapillary architecture). Immunohistochemical results were S100 protein (11/11), SOX10 (11/11), synaptophysin (3/10), CD56 (7/9), CD117 (3/9), DOG1 (0/4), ALK (4/8), chromogranin A (0/10), HMB-45 (0/11), Melan-A (0/11), tyrosinase (0/4), and MiTF (0/11). Next-generation sequencing results were EWSR1::ATF1 (7 cases), EWSR1::CREB1 (3 cases), and EWSR1::PBX1 (1 case). The EWSR1::PBX1-positive tumor was similar to other cases, including osteoclast-like giant cells, and negative for myoepithelial markers. A clinical follow-up (range, 10-70 months; median, 34 months) showed 4 patients dead of disease (10.5, 12, 25, and 64 months after diagnosis), 1 patient alive with extensive metastases (43 months after diagnosis), 1 patient alive with persistent local disease (11 months after diagnosis), and 4 alive without disease (10, 47, 53, and 70 months after diagnosis). One case is too recent for the follow-up. The clinicopathologic and molecular genetic features of rare E-MGNET are essentially identical to those occurring in intestinal locations. Otherwise, typical E-MGNET may harbor EWSR1::PBX1, a finding previously unreported in this tumor type. As in enteric locations, the behavior of E-MGNET is aggressive, with metastases and/or death from disease in at least 50% of patients. E-MGNET should be distinguished from clear cell sarcoma of soft parts and other tumors with similar fusions. ALK expression appears to be a common feature of tumors harboring EWSR1/FUS::ATF1/CREB1 fusion but is unlikely to predict the therapeutic response to ALK inhibition. Future advances in our understanding of these unusual tumors will hopefully lead to improved nomenclature.

Keywords: clear cell sarcoma; immunohistochemistry; malignant gastrointestinal neuroectodermal tumor; molecular genetics; sarcoma soft-tissue neoplasm.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Male
  • Molecular Biology
  • Neuroectodermal Tumors* / chemistry
  • Neuroectodermal Tumors* / genetics
  • Neuroectodermal Tumors* / pathology
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion / genetics
  • RNA-Binding Protein EWS / genetics
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics
  • Sarcoma, Clear Cell* / genetics
  • Sarcoma, Clear Cell* / pathology


  • RNA-Binding Protein EWS
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion