ANATOMICAL PATHOLOGY| Volume 55, ISSUE 3, P350-354, April 2023

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Expression of SATB2 in primary cutaneous sarcomatoid neoplasms: a potential diagnostic pitfall

Published:January 31, 2023DOI:


      SATB2 can be used as an immunohistochemical marker for osteoblastic differentiation. The differential diagnosis of a cutaneous sarcomatoid neoplasm sometimes includes osteosarcoma when the tumour concomitantly involves the skin, soft tissue, and bone, or when there is a past medical history of osteosarcoma. As the utility of SATB2 immunohistochemistry in these scenarios was unclear, we aimed to determine the frequency and the pattern of SATB2 expression in a variety of cutaneous sarcomatoid neoplasms. SATB2 expression by immunohistochemistry was evaluated by intensity (0–3) and extent (0–100%) of staining to generate an h-score for each case. Expression levels were classified into high-positive (h-score ≥100), low-positive (20–99), and negative (<20) groups. Positive SATB2 expression was observed in 18/23 (78%) atypical fibroxanthomas (AFX), 10/19 (53%) pleomorphic dermal sarcomas, 9/20 (45%) cutaneous sarcomatoid squamous cell carcinomas, 14/39 (36%) sarcomatoid melanomas, 2/13 (15%) poorly differentiated cutaneous angiosarcomas, 10/17 (59%) high-grade cutaneous leiomyosarcomas, and 7/8 (88%) osteosarcoma controls. With the exception of AFX, all cutaneous neoplasms showed significantly lower average h-scores than osteosarcoma. AFX gave the highest average h-score (71) and percentage of high-positive cases (48%) among all examined cutaneous neoplasms. Only two (1.5%) of all cutaneous cases showed strong intensity of staining. Common SATB2 expression in various cutaneous sarcomatoid neoplasms poses a potential diagnostic pitfall when the differential diagnosis includes osteosarcoma. Requirement of strong staining and a high-positive h-score improves the specificity of SATB2 in differentiating these tumours from osteosarcoma.

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