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      The 2020 WHO Classification of Soft Tissue Tumours: news and perspectives


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          Mesenchymal tumours represent one of the most challenging field of diagnostic pathology and refinement of classification schemes plays a key role in improving the quality of pathologic diagnosis and, as a consequence, of therapeutic options. The recent publication of the new WHO classification of Soft Tissue Tumours and Bone represents a major step toward improved standardization of diagnosis. Importantly, the 2020 WHO classification has been opened to expert clinicians that have further contributed to underline the key value of pathologic diagnosis as a rationale for proper treatment. Several relevant advances have been introduced. In the attempt to improve the prediction of clinical behaviour of solitary fibrous tumour, a risk assessment scheme has been implemented. NTRK-rearranged soft tissue tumours are now listed as an “emerging entity” also in consideration of the recent therapeutic developments in terms of NTRK inhibition. This decision has been source of a passionate debate regarding the definition of “tumour entity” as well as the consequences of a “pathology agnostic” approach to precision oncology. In consideration of their distinct clinicopathologic features, undifferentiated round cell sarcomas are now kept separate from Ewing sarcoma and subclassified, according to the underlying gene rearrangements, into three main subgroups (CIC, BCLR and not ETS fused sarcomas) Importantly, In order to avoid potential confusion, tumour entities such as gastrointestinal stroma tumours are addressed homogenously across the different WHO fascicles. Pathologic diagnosis represents the integration of morphologic, immunohistochemical and molecular characteristics and is a key element of clinical decision making. The WHO classification is as a key instrument to promote multidisciplinarity, stimulating pathologists, geneticists and clinicians to join efforts aimed to translate novel pathologic findings into more effective treatments.

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          Most cited references74

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          Rare cancers are not so rare: The rare cancer burden in Europe

          Epidemiologic information on rare cancers is scarce. The project Surveillance of Rare Cancers in Europe (RARECARE) provides estimates of the incidence, prevalence and survival of rare cancers in Europe based on a new and comprehensive list of these diseases. RARECARE analysed population-based cancer registry (CR) data on European patients diagnosed from 1988 to 2002, with vital status information available up to 31st December 2003 (latest date for which most CRs had verified data). The mean population covered was about 162,000,000. Cancer incidence and survival rates for 1995-2002 and prevalence at 1st January 2003 were estimated. Based on the RARECARE definition (incidence <6/100,000/year), the estimated annual incidence rate of all rare cancers in Europe was about 108 per 100,000, corresponding to 541,000 new diagnoses annually or 22% of all cancer diagnoses. Five-year relative survival was on average worse for rare cancers (47%) than common cancers (65%). About 4,300,000 patients are living today in the European Union with a diagnosis of a rare cancer, 24% of the total cancer prevalence. Our estimates of the rare cancer burden in Europe provide the first indication of the size of the public health problem due to these diseases and constitute a useful base for further research. Centres of excellence for rare cancers or groups of rare cancers could provide the necessary organisational structure and critical mass for carrying out clinical trials and developing alternative approaches to clinical experimentation for these cancers. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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            Malignant fibrous histiocytoma: an analysis of 200 cases.

            The clinicopathologic findings in 200 cases of malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH) with follow-up information are presented. This tumor occurred principally as a mass on an extremity (lower extremity 49%, upper extremity 19%) or in the abdominal cavity or retroperitoneum (16%) of adults (peak incidence 61-70 years of age). It typically involved deep fascia (19%) or skeletal muscle (59%) and only rarely was confined to the subcutis without fascial involvement (7%). The MFH had variable morphologic features and frequently showed transitions from areas having a highly ordered storiform pattern to less differentiated areas having a pleomorphic appearance. The rate of local recurrence of the tumor was 44%, and of metastasis, 42%. Metastasis was most frequently to the lung (82%) and lymph nodes (32%). Factors that influenced the rate of metastasis included depth, size, and inflammatory component of the tumor. Tumors that were small, superficially located, or had a prominent inflammatory component metastasized less frequently than larger, more deeply located tumors. In our experience the MFH is the most common soft tissue sarcoma of late adult life, and many tumors previously diagnosed as pleomorphic variants of liposarcoma, fibrosarcoma, or rhabdomyosarcoma are probably examples of MFH. Although the histogenesis of this neoplasm remains controversial, we feel it is best regarded as a primitive and pleomorphic sarcoma showing partial fibroblastic and histiocytic differentiation, as reflected by collagen production and occasional phagocytosis.
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              Atypical and malignant solitary fibrous tumors in extrathoracic locations: evidence of their comparability to intra-thoracic tumors.

              Solitary fibrous tumor (SFT), first described as a pleural lesion, has been reported at numerous extrathoracic sites over the past 10 years. About 10% to 15% of intrathoracic SFTs are histologically or clinically malignant, but such cases have very rarely been described at other locations. Among 92 cases of extrathoracic SFT in our files, we identified 10 that either had recurred (2 cases) or had a least one atypical histologic feature (8 cases). The ten tumors occurred in five men and five women, 32 to 81 years old (median 56), measured 1.9 cm to 20 cm (median 11.5 cm), and were located in the abdomen/pelvis (4 cases), retroperitoneum (3 cases), groin, trunk, and upper arm. Nuclear atypia (8 cases), markedly increased cellularity (6 cases), areas of necrosis (4 cases), and greater than 4 mitoses/10 HPFs (3 cases) were seen in addition to the typical histologic features of SFT. Six tumors had at least two of these atypical histologic features. Nine cases were positive for CD34, six were positive for O-13, and one was focally positive for smooth muscle actin. Eight were excised completely. Subsequent follow-up revealed tumor relapse in eight cases (follow up 6-180 months, median 24). Four patients had local recurrence at 12 to 168 months. Distant metastasis developed at 1 to 6 years in five cases with spread to lung (2 cases), liver (4 cases), and bone. Metastasis or local recurrence developed within 2 years in five patients. To date, no patient has died of their tumor. These findings demonstrate that nuclear atypia, hypercellularity, greater than 4 mitoses/10 HPFs, and necrosis may be seen in up to 10% of extrathoracic SFTs, and are associated with, but are not by themselves predictive of, aggressive clinical behavior. In addition, our findings confirm that the behavior of extrathoracic SFTs is unpredictable, entirely comparable to that of their better known pleural counterparts, and confirm that patients with SFTs in all locations require careful, long-term follow up. It is probably unwise to regard any such lesion as definitely benign.

                Author and article information

                Pacini Editore srl
                03 November 2020
                April 2021
                : 113
                : 2
                : 70-84
                [1 ] Department of Pathology, Azienda Ospedale Università Padova , Padova, Italy
                [2 ] Department of Medicine, University of Padua School of Medicine , Padua, Italy
                Author notes
                Correspondence Angelo P. Dei Tos Department of Medicine, University of Padua School of Medicine, Padua, Italy E-mail: angelo.deitos@ 123456unipd.it

                Conflict of interest

                The Authors declare no conflict of interest.

                © 2020 Copyright by Società Italiana di Anatomia Patologica e Citopatologia Diagnostica, Divisione Italiana della International Academy of Pathology

                This is an open access journal distributed in accordance with the CC-BY-NC-ND (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International) license: the work can be used by mentioning the author and the license, but only for non-commercial purposes and only in the original version. For further information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/deed.en

                Page count
                Figures: 17, Tables: 12, Equations: 0, References: 74, Pages: 15

                who classification,soft tissue sarcoma,new entity,molecular genetics,morphology


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