Aims: Low-grade fibromyxoid sarcoma (LGFMS) is a distinctive variant of fibrosarcoma and has been reported to have metastatic potential despite its low-grade histological findings. Low-grade myxofibrosarcoma (MFS) is an important differential diagnosis of LGMFS, because it shows different biological behaviour. Of 75 MFSs in the extremities and trunk, we defined 22 grade 1 tumours as low-grade MFS according to the French Federation of Cancer Centres grading system and compared the clinicopathological factors and immunohistochemical expression of cell cycle regulators with those of 11 LGFMSs. Methods and results: The two entities could be distinguished on histological grounds. Low-grade MFS was characterized by the presence of prominent elongated, curvilinear capillaries and pseudolipoblasts, accompanied by an abundant myxoid matrix. It had no extensive solid areas. LGFMS was composed of bland spindle cells arranged in a whorled pattern with alternating myxoid and fibrous stroma. Curvilinear capillaries were not prominent and cytological atypia was absent. No tumour necrosis was observed in any of the 11 LGFMSs, whereas only one case showed tumour necrosis in less than 50% of the tumour in 22 low-grade MFSs. The patients with low-grade MFS were significantly older than those with LGFMS (low-grade MFS average, 60.1 years; LGFMS average, 31.5 years; P < 0.0001) and low-grade MFS occurred more frequently in a superficial location (low-grade MFS 14/20; LGFMS 2/11; P = 0.0077). As for cell cycle regulator expression, the MIB-1 labelling index (LI) (14.76 on average) and cyclin E LI (11.55 on average) in low-grade MFS were significantly higher than those (MIB-I LI, 4.68 on average; cyclin E LI, 3.38 on average) of LGFMS, while p21 LI (25.53 on average) and p27 LI (42.68 on average) in low-grade MFS were significantly lower than those (p21 LI, 42.74 on average; p27 LI, 57.28 on average) of LGFMS. Conclusions: We conclude that low-grade MFS and LGFMS are distinctly different clinicopathological entities and the assessment of the immunohistochemical expression of MEB-1, cyclin E, p21 and p27 as well as conventional clinicopathological features may be helpful to distinguish low-grade MFS from LGFMS.
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