Pericytic mimicry in well-differentiated liposarcoma/atypical lipomatous tumor

Jia Shen, Swati Shrestha, P. Nagesh Rao, Greg Asatrian, Michelle A. Scott, Vi Nguyen, Paulina Giacomelli, Chia Soo, Kang Ting, Fritz C. Eilber, Bruno Peault, Sarah M. Dry, Aaron W. James

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pericytes are modified smooth muscle cells that closely enwrap small blood vessels, regulating and supporting the microvasculature through direct endothelial contact. Pericytes demonstrate a distinct immunohistochemical profile, including expression of smooth muscle actin, CD146, platelet-derived growth factor receptor β, and regulator of G-protein signaling 5. Previously, pericyte-related antigens have been observed to be present among a group of soft tissue tumors with a perivascular growth pattern, including glomus tumor, myopericytoma, and angioleiomyoma. Similarly, malignant tumor cells have been shown to have a pericyte-like immunoprofile when present in a perivascular location, seen in malignant melanoma, glioblastoma, and adenocarcinoma. Here, we examine well-differentiated liposarcoma specimens, which showed some element of perivascular areas with the appearance of smooth muscle (n = 7 tumors). Immunohistochemical staining was performed for pericyte antigens, including smooth muscle actin, CD146, platelet-derived growth factor receptor β, and regulator of G-protein signaling 5. Results showed consistent pericytic marker expression among liposarcoma tumor cells within a perivascular distribution. MDM2 immunohistochemistry and fluorescence in situ hybridization for MDM2 revealed that these perivascular cells were of tumor origin (7/7 tumors), whereas double immunohistochemical detection for CD31/CD146 ruled out an endothelial cell contribution. These findings further support the concept of pericytic mimicry, already established in diverse malignancies, and its presence in well-differentiated liposarcoma. The extent to which pericytic mimicry has prognostic significance in liposarcoma is as yet unknown.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-99
Number of pages8
JournalHuman pathology
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • CD146
  • Liposarcoma
  • PDGFRβ
  • Pericyte
  • SMA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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