During the last 5 to 10 years, significant progress has been made in the molecular characterization of soft tissue tumors, predominantly with the identification of recurrent translocations or amplification of certain genes in different tumor types. Alongside this, translational efforts have identified many novel and diagnostically useful immunohistochemical markers for many of these tumor types.
This article reviews a select group of recently described immunohistochemical markers of particular use in the evaluation of mesenchymal neoplasms; the underlying biology of the protein product, practical utility, and limitations of each marker are discussed in detail.
Literature review, authors' research data, and personal practice experience serve as sources.
There are many diagnostically useful immunohistochemical markers to help confirm the diagnosis of many different soft tissue tumor types, some of which have reduced the need for additional, and more costly, studies, such as fluorescence in situ hybridization. However, no one marker is 100% specific for a given tumor, and knowledge of potential pitfalls and overlap in patterns of staining among other tumor types is crucial to ensure the appropriate application of these markers in clinical practice.