Poorly differentiated synovial sarcoma is associated with high expression of enhancer of zeste homologue 2 (EZH2)
BackgroundEnhancer of zeste homologue 2 (EZH2) is a polycomb group (PcG) family protein. Acting as a histone methyltransferase it plays crucial roles in maintaining epigenetic stem cell signature, while its deregulation leads to tumor development. EZH2 overexpression is commonly associated with poor prognosis in a variety of tumor types including carcinomas, lymphomas and soft tissue sarcomas. However, although the synovial sarcoma fusion proteins SYT-SSX1/2/4 are known to interact with PcG members, the diagnostic and prognostic significance of EZH2 expression in synovial sarcoma has not yet been investigated. Also, literature data are equivocal on the correlation between EZH2 expression and the abundance of trimethylated histone 3 lysine 27 (H3K27me3) motifs in tumors.MethodsImmunohistochemical stains of EZH2, H3K27me3, and Ki-67 were performed on tissue microarrays containing cores from 6 poorly differentiated, 39 monophasic and 10 biphasic synovial sarcomas, and evaluated by pre-established scoring criteria. Results of the three immunostainings were compared, and differences were sought between the histological subtypes as well as patient groups defined by gender, age, tumor location, the presence of distant metastasis, and the type of fusion gene. The relationship between EZH2 expression and survival was plotted on a Kaplan-Meier curve.ResultsHigh expression of EZH2 mRNA and protein was specifically detected in the poorly differentiated subtype. EZH2 scores were found to correlate with those of Ki-67 and H3K27me3. Cases with high EZH2 score were characterized by larger tumor size (≥ 5cm), distant metastasis, and poor prognosis. Even in the monophasic and biphasic subtypes, higher expression of EZH2 was associated with higher proliferation rate, larger tumor size, and the risk of developing distant metastasis. In these histological groups, EZH2 was superior to Ki-67 in predicting metastatic disease.ConclusionsHigh expression of EZH2 helps to distinguish poorly differentiated synovial sarcoma from the monophasic and biphasic subtypes, and it is associated with unfavorable clinical outcome. Importantly, high EZH2 expression is predictive of developing distant metastasis even in the better-differentiated subtypes. EZH2 overexpression in synovial sarcoma is correlated with high H3K27 trimethylation. Thus, along with other epigenetic regulators, EZH2 may be a future therapeutic target.
[…] Prism 4 software (GraphPad, USA), SigmaPlot and SigmaStat software packages (SPSS, version 11.0, IBM, USA) and the VassarStats website (
http://www.vassarstats.net) were used for statistical analyses. Kruskal-Wallis test was used for the comparison of more than two groups, while pairwise comparison of non-Gaussian data sets was done by the Mann–Whitney test. Correlations were analyzed by the Spearman’s rank order correlation test (Spearman's rho, ρ) and coefficient of determination (R2). Kaplan-Meier curves were created based on the duration of survival after operation, and groups were compared with univariate analysis using the log-rank test. For all analyses, P values <0.05 were considered as statistically significant. […]
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