Atypical fibroxanthoma (AFX) which is histologically similar to malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH), occurs in the sun-exposed skin. The presence of mutations at codons 12 and 13 of the H- and K-ras genes and in exons 1 and 2, which include codons 12, 13, and 61, of the N-ras gene was studied in 8 cases of AFX and 8 cases of storiform-pleomorphic-type MFH using polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-restriction fragment length polymorphism and PCR-single-conformation polymorphism. Two of the 8 cases of MFH showed ras mutations in the H-ras gene at codon 12 (GGC-AGC) and in the K-ras gene at codon 13 (GGC-GAC). H- and K-ras gene mutations were not seen in any of the cases of AFX (0 of 8). N-ras gene mutation was not detected in either the AFX (0 of 8) or MFH (0 of 8) cases. In conclusion, although the number of cases in this study was small, H-and K-ras genes were present in some of the MFH cases and accordingly may play an important role in the pathogenesis of MFH. In addition, the finding that H-, K-, and N-ras gene mutations are not present in AFX may indicate why AFX has a more favorable behavior than MFH.
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