Glypican 3 (GPC3), a membrane-bound heparin sulfate proteoglycan, is mutated in Simpson-Golabi-Behmel syndrome, characterized by tissue overgrowth and an increased risk of embryonal malignancies such as Wilms tumor. Malignant rhabdoid tumor (MRT), originally described as a rhabdomyosarcomatoid variant of Wilms tumor, is a tumor with loss of SMARCB1/INI1 protein expression. We analyzed the frequency of GPC3 protein expression, GPC3 mRNA, and serum-soluble GPC3 levels in 71 cases of tumors with loss of SMARCB1/INI1 protein expression, including 14 MRTs, 48 epithelioid sarcomas (ES) (proximal-type, 21; distal-type, 27), 4 extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcomas, and 5 pediatric undifferentiated soft-tissue sarcomas. We found that GPC3 overexpression of more than 10% of the labeling index was recognized in 6 (42.9%) MRTs, 1 (2.1%) proximal-type ES, and 3 (60%) pediatric undifferentiated soft-tissue sarcomas (MRT vs ES, P =.0003). All the remaining cases revealed GPC3-absent expression of less than 1% of the labeling index. The median values of GPC3 mRNA in the GPC3-absent expression group and overexpression group were 10.2 and 309, respectively, with a statistically significant difference between these 2 groups (P =.004). However, there was no statistically significant difference in the prognoses of these 2 groups of MRT (P =.99). In analyzable cases of small-number MRT and pediatric undifferentiated soft-tissue sarcoma, there is no significant correlation between GPC3 immunoreactivity and serum-soluble GPC3 level. Therefore, evaluation of GPC3 immunoexpression may be a useful diagnostic tool to distinguish ES from MRT, especially extrarenal MRT. It was suggested that MRTs with GPC3 overexpression may become a new target of GPC3 immunotherapy.
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