Gene Summary

Gene:DUX4L1; double homeobox 4 like 1 (pseudogene)
Aliases: DUX4, DUX10
Summary:This gene is located within a D4Z4 repeat array in the subtelomeric region of chromosome 4q. The D4Z4 repeat is polymorphic in length and a similar D4Z4 repeat array has been identified on chromosome 10. Each D4Z4 repeat unit has an open reading frame (named DUX4) that encodes two homeoboxes; the repeat-array and ORF is conserved in other mammals. There is no evidence for transcription of the gene at this locus though RT-PCR and in vitro expression experiments indicate that a telomeric paralog of this gene is transcribed in some haplotypes. Contraction of the macrosatellite repeat causes autosomal dominant facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD). [provided by RefSeq, Jun 2014]
Databases:HGNC, GeneCard, Gene
Source:NCBIAccessed: 01 September, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 01 September 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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Tag cloud generated 01 September, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (4)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: DUX4L1 (cancer-related)

Tian L, Shao Y, Nance S, et al.
Long-read sequencing unveils IGH-DUX4 translocation into the silenced IGH allele in B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Nat Commun. 2019; 10(1):2789 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
IGH@ proto-oncogene translocation is a common oncogenic event in lymphoid lineage cancers such as B-ALL, lymphoma and multiple myeloma. Here, to investigate the interplay between IGH@ proto-oncogene translocation and IGH allelic exclusion, we perform long-read whole-genome and transcriptome sequencing along with epigenetic and 3D genome profiling of Nalm6, an IGH-DUX4 positive B-ALL cell line. We detect significant allelic imbalance on the wild-type over the IGH-DUX4 haplotype in expression and epigenetic data, showing IGH-DUX4 translocation occurs on the silenced IGH allele. In vitro, this reduces the oncogenic stress of DUX4 high-level expression. Moreover, patient samples of IGH-DUX4 B-ALL have similar expression profile and IGH breakpoints as Nalm6, suggesting a common mechanism to allow optimal dosage of non-toxic DUX4 expression.

Li JF, Dai YT, Lilljebjörn H, et al.
Transcriptional landscape of B cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia based on an international study of 1,223 cases.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018; 115(50):E11711-E11720 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Most B cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP ALL) can be classified into known major genetic subtypes, while a substantial proportion of BCP ALL remains poorly characterized in relation to its underlying genomic abnormalities. We therefore initiated a large-scale international study to reanalyze and delineate the transcriptome landscape of 1,223 BCP ALL cases using RNA sequencing. Fourteen BCP ALL gene expression subgroups (G1 to G14) were identified. Apart from extending eight previously described subgroups (G1 to G8 associated with

Anderson WJ, Hornick JL
Immunohistochemical correlates of recurrent genetic alterations in sarcomas.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2019; 58(2):111-123 [PubMed] Related Publications
Accurate diagnosis of sarcomas relies on the integration of clinical, histopathological and molecular features. Our understanding of the latter has increased dramatically in recent years with the application of high-throughput sequencing. Concomitantly, the role of immunohistochemistry has expanded as genomic alterations have been exploited by the development of diagnostic markers that serve as surrogates for their detection. Herein, we review selected immunohistochemical markers that can infer the presence of diverse molecular events. These include gene fusions in vascular neoplasms (FOSB, CAMTA1 and TFE3), round cell sarcomas (BCOR, DUX4 and WT1), and fibroblastic/myofibroblastic tumors (STAT6, ALK and Pan-TRK); amplifications in well-differentiated and dedifferentiated liposarcomas (MDM2 and CDK4); and deletions in several aggressive neoplasms (SMARCB1 and SMARCA4). Protein correlates of single nucleotide variants (beta-catenin in desmoid fibromatosis) and epigenetic alterations (histone H3K27me3 in malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor) and markers discovered through gene expression profiling (NKX2.2 and MUC4) are also discussed.

Tang S, Dodd LG
CIC-DUX4 sarcoma diagnosed by fine-needle aspiration cytology: A case report.
Diagn Cytopathol. 2018; 46(11):958-963 [PubMed] Related Publications
The CIC-DUX4 sarcoma is a small round blue cell sarcoma which presents like extraskeletal Ewing sarcoma, but is negative for the EWSR1 gene translocation. The recognition of CIC-DUX4 sarcomas as an aggressive sarcoma may be challenging in fine needle aspirates or small needle core biopsies. We present a case of a 13-year-old female with a fine needle aspiration (FNA) and core needle biopsy (CNB) of a thigh mass showing CIC-DUX4 sarcoma. Cytologic findings include tumor cells with high nuclear to cytoplasmic (N:C) ratio, eccentric nuclei and small nucleoli. The tumor cells were arranged in sheets and singly dispersed with background necrosis. Mitotic figures and apoptosis were present. These findings are similar to cases previously reported. Other reported findings of spindled nuclei, clear cell change and lobular growth pattern were not seen in our case. Immunohistochemical stains showed tumor cells positive for CD99, WT1, vimentin and negative for pancytokeratin, desmin and myogenin, which is the pattern similar to cases previously reported. However, our case was also positive for BCL-2. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) was negative for EWSR1 and SS18 (SYT) rearrangements and positive for CIC gene rearrangement. On balance, if the following features are seen: (1) a small round blue cell tumor with histomorphology more atypical than that of Ewing sarcoma, (2) cytoplasmic CD99 staining, nuclear WT1 positivity, negative keratin, desmin and myogenin; and (3) EWSR1 rearrangement negative by FISH, then molecular testing for CIC-DUX4 sarcoma should be considered.

Golshirazi G, Ciszewski L, Lu-Nguyen N, Popplewell L
Antisense Oligonucleotide Targeting of 3'-UTR of mRNA for Expression Knockdown.
Methods Mol Biol. 2018; 1828:91-124 [PubMed] Related Publications
With the recent conditional approval of an antisense oligonucleotide (AON) that restores the reading frame of DMD transcript in a subset of Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients, it has been established that AONs sharing similar chemistry have clear clinical potential. Genetic diseases, such as facioscapulohumeral dystrophy (FSHD), can be the result of gain-of-function mutations. Since mRNA processing in terms of termination of transcription, its transport from the nucleus to the cytoplasm, its stability and translation efficiency are dependent on key 3'UTR elements, it follows that targeting these elements with AONs have the potential to induce gene silencing. Aberrant expression of the Double homeobox 4 (DUX4) transcription factor and the downstream consequences of such expression is the hallmark of FSHD. Here we describe the bioinformatic strategies behind the design of AONs targeting polyadenylation signals and the methodologies relevant to their in vitro screening for efficacy and safety, including analysis of expression at the transcript and protein level of the specific target and downstream genes, and measurement of the effect on the fusion index of myotubes. The targeting of permissive DUX4 and MSTN are used as examples. MSTN encodes for myostatin, a negative regulator of myogenesis; the downregulation of MSTN expression has the potential to address the muscular atrophy associated with muscular dystrophies, sarcopenia, cancer and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

Krskova L, Kabickova E, Drahokoupilova E, et al.
An undifferentiated sarcoma with BCOR-CCNB3 fusion transcript - pathological and clinical retrospective study.
Neoplasma. 2018; 65(4):630-636 [PubMed] Related Publications
The BCOR-CCNB3 positive sarcoma is a recently identified sarcoma morphologically and clinically similar to Ewing sarcoma in adolescents and young adults. The BCOR-CCNB3 fusion transcript originates from a paracentric inversion on the X chromosome with an in-frame fusion between the last codon of BCOR and the exon 5 of CCNB3 gene. We report morphological and molecular genetic analysis of 8 undifferentiated sarcomas positive for the BCOR-CCNB3 fusion. Six of the eight BCOR-CCNB3 positive sarcoma patients were male. Five of the eight patients were in their second decade of life (median of all patients 14 years at diagnosis). The bone marrow involvement was demonstrated in 2 of 4 patients tested. Detection of the fusion transcripts BCOR-CCNB3 in the bone marrow suggests that patients with positive findings are at high risk of the tumor progression.

Steeghs EMP, Bakker M, Hoogkamer AQ, et al.
High STAP1 expression in DUX4-rearranged cases is not suitable as therapeutic target in pediatric B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Sci Rep. 2018; 8(1):693 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Approximately 25% of the pediatric B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP-ALL) cases are genetically unclassified. More thorough elucidation of the pathobiology of these genetically unclassified ('B-other') cases may identify novel treatment options. We analyzed gene expression profiles of 572 pediatric BCP-ALL cases, representing all major ALL subtypes. High expression of STAP1, an adaptor protein downstream of the B-cell receptor (BCR), was identified in BCR-ABL1-like and non-BCR-ABL1-like B-other cases. Limma analysis revealed an association between high expression of STAP1 and BCR signaling genes. However, STAP1 expression and pre-BCR signaling were not causally related: cytoplasmic Igμ levels were not abnormal in cases with high levels of STAP1 and stimulation of pre-BCR signaling did not induce STAP1 expression. To elucidate the role of STAP1 in BCP-ALL survival, expression was silenced in two human BCP-ALL cell lines. Knockdown of STAP1 did not reduce the proliferation rate or viability of these cells, suggesting that STAP1 is not a likely candidate for precision medicines. Moreover, high expression of STAP1 was not predictive for an unfavorable prognosis of BCR-ABL1-like and non-BCR-ABL1-like B-other cases. Remarkably, DUX4-rearrangements and intragenic ERG deletions, were enriched in cases harboring high expression of STAP1.

Kao YC, Owosho AA, Sung YS, et al.
BCOR-CCNB3 Fusion Positive Sarcomas: A Clinicopathologic and Molecular Analysis of 36 Cases With Comparison to Morphologic Spectrum and Clinical Behavior of Other Round Cell Sarcomas.
Am J Surg Pathol. 2018; 42(5):604-615 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BCOR-CCNB3 sarcoma (BCS) is a recently defined genetic entity among undifferentiated round cell sarcomas, which was initially classified as and treated similarly to the Ewing sarcoma (ES) family of tumors. In contrast to ES, BCS shows consistent BCOR overexpression, and preliminary evidence suggests that these tumors share morphologic features with other tumors harboring BCOR genetic alterations, including BCOR internal tandem duplication (ITD) and BCOR-MAML3. To further investigate the pathologic features, clinical behavior, and their relationship to other round cell sarcomas, we collected 36 molecularly confirmed BCSs for a detailed histologic and immunohistochemical analysis. Four of the cases were also analyzed by RNA sequencing (RNAseq). An additional case with BCOR overexpression but negative CCNB3 abnormality showed a novel KMT2D-BCOR fusion by targeted RNAseq. The patients ranged in age from 2 to 44 years old (mean and median, 15), with striking male predominance (M:F=31:5). The tumor locations were slightly more common in bone (n=20) than soft tissue (n=14), with rare visceral (kidney, n=2) involvement. Histologically, BCS showed a spectrum of round to spindle cells with variable cellularity, monomorphic nuclei and fine chromatin pattern, delicate capillary network, and varying amounts of myxoid or collagenous stroma. The morphologic features and immunoprofile showed considerable overlap with other round cell sarcomas with BCOR oncogenic upregulation, that is, BCOR-MAML3 and BCOR ITD. Follow-up available in 22 patients showed a 5-year overall survival of 72%, which was relatively similar to ES (79%, P=0.738) and significantly better than CIC-DUX4 sarcomas (43%, P=0.005) control groups. Local recurrences occurred in 6 patients and distant metastases (lung, soft tissue/bone, pancreas) in 4. Seven of 9 cases treated with an ES chemotherapy regimen with evaluable histologic response showed >60% necrosis in posttherapy resections. Unsupervised clustering by RNAseq data revealed that tumors with BCOR genetic alterations, including BCOR-CCNB3, BCOR-MAML3, and BCOR ITD, formed a tight genomic group distinct from ES and CIC-rearranged sarcomas.

Chang KTE, Goytain A, Tucker T, et al.
Development and Evaluation of a Pan-Sarcoma Fusion Gene Detection Assay Using the NanoString nCounter Platform.
J Mol Diagn. 2018; 20(1):63-77 [PubMed] Related Publications
The NanoString nCounter assay is a high-throughput hybridization technique using target-specific probes that can be customized to test for numerous fusion transcripts in a single assay using RNA from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded material. We designed a NanoString assay targeting 174 unique fusion junctions in 25 sarcoma types. The study cohort comprised 212 cases, 96 of which showed fusion gene expression by the NanoString assay, including all 20 Ewing sarcomas, 11 synovial sarcomas, and 5 myxoid liposarcomas tested. Among these 96 cases, 15 showed fusion expression not identified by standard clinical assay, including EWSR1-FLI1, EWSR1-ERG, BCOR-CCNB3, ZC3H7B-BCOR, HEY1-NCOA2, CIC-DUX4, COL1A1-PDGFB, MYH9-USP6, YAP1-TFE3, and IRF2BP2-CDX1 fusions. There were no false-positive results; however, four cases were false negative when compared with clinically available fluorescence in situ hybridization or RT-PCR testing. When batched as six cases, the per-sample reagent cost was less than conventional techniques, such as fluorescence in situ hybridization, with technologist hands-on time of 1.2 hours per case and assay time of 36 hours. In summary, the NanoString nCounter Sarcoma Fusion CodeSet reliably and cost-effectively identifies fusion genes in sarcomas using formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded material, including many fusions missed by standard clinical assays, and can serve as a first-line clinical diagnostic test for sarcoma fusion gene identification, replacing multiple individual clinical assays.

Tanaka M, Yoshimoto T, Nakamura T
A double-edged sword: The world according to Capicua in cancer.
Cancer Sci. 2017; 108(12):2319-2325 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
CIC/Capicua is an HMG-box transcription factor that is well conserved during evolution. CIC recognizes the T(G/C)AATG(A/G)A sequence and represses its target genes, such as PEA3 family genes. The receptor tyrosine kinase/RAS/MAPK signals downregulate CIC and relieves CIC's target genes from the transrepressional activity; CIC thus acts as an important downstream molecule of the pathway and as a tumor suppressor. CIC loss-of-function mutations are frequently observed in several human neoplasms such as oligodendroglioma, and lung and gastric carcinoma. CIC is also involved in chromosomal translocation-associated gene fusions in highly aggressive small round cell sarcoma that is biologically and clinically distinct from Ewing sarcoma. In these mutations, PEA3 family genes and other important target genes are upregulated, inducing malignant phenotypes. Downregulation of CIC abrogates the effect of MAPK inhibitors, suggesting its potential role as an important modifier of molecular target therapies for cancer. These data reveal the importance of CIC as a key molecule in signal transduction, carcinogenesis, and developing novel therapies.

Marincevic-Zuniga Y, Dahlberg J, Nilsson S, et al.
Transcriptome sequencing in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia identifies fusion genes associated with distinct DNA methylation profiles.
J Hematol Oncol. 2017; 10(1):148 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Structural chromosomal rearrangements that lead to expressed fusion genes are a hallmark of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). In this study, we performed transcriptome sequencing of 134 primary ALL patient samples to comprehensively detect fusion transcripts.
METHODS: We combined fusion gene detection with genome-wide DNA methylation analysis, gene expression profiling, and targeted sequencing to determine molecular signatures of emerging ALL subtypes.
RESULTS: We identified 64 unique fusion events distributed among 80 individual patients, of which over 50% have not previously been reported in ALL. Although the majority of the fusion genes were found only in a single patient, we identified several recurrent fusion gene families defined by promiscuous fusion gene partners, such as ETV6, RUNX1, PAX5, and ZNF384, or recurrent fusion genes, such as DUX4-IGH. Our data show that patients harboring these fusion genes displayed characteristic genome-wide DNA methylation and gene expression signatures in addition to distinct patterns in single nucleotide variants and recurrent copy number alterations.
CONCLUSION: Our study delineates the fusion gene landscape in pediatric ALL, including both known and novel fusion genes, and highlights fusion gene families with shared molecular etiologies, which may provide additional information for prognosis and therapeutic options in the future.

Wang M, He SF, Liu LL, et al.
Potential role of ZEB1 as a DNA repair regulator in colorectal cancer cells revealed by cancer-associated promoter profiling.
Oncol Rep. 2017; 38(4):1941-1948 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Besides being a key contributor to epithelial‑to‑mesenchymal transition (EMT) activation and stemness maintenance, zinc finger E-box binding homeobox 1 (ZEB1) is also a crucial inducer of chemoresistance and radioresistance. Unlike the clear mechanism that mediates its effect on EMT and dedifferentiation, the mechanism of how ZEB1 promotes chemo- and radio-resistance remains to be elucidated. It has been previously reported that ZEB1 promotes DNA double-strand break clearance by enhancing the deubiquitylating activity of ubiquitin-specific peptidase (USP)7 on checkpoint kinase 1, which is an important step during DNA repair. It was hypothesized that as a transcriptional suppressor, ZEB1 may be involved in an unbalanced DNA damage response (DDR) by affecting other key components. Therefore, in the present study, the target gene occupancy of ZEB1 was mapped in colorectal cancer cells using the ChIP-on-chip method, revealing positive intervals enriched along the three DDR-associated genes: USP17, chromodomain helicase DNA-binding protein 1-like and double homeobox 4. The E-boxes identified in the binding regions and the enhanced mRNA expression of the three genes following the knockdown of ZEB1 supported the identification of these three genes as downstream target genes of ZEB1. Furthermore, ZEB1 knockdown initiated a chemosensitization effect, induced G1/S arrest and increased apoptosis, which functionally validated the three ZEB1 downstream targets. In summary, the present study identified three DDR-associated genes as ZEB1 downstream targets, and demonstrated that their suppression by ZEB1 contributes to ZEB1-mediated chemoresistance.

Lilljebjörn H, Fioretos T
New oncogenic subtypes in pediatric B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Blood. 2017; 130(12):1395-1401 [PubMed] Related Publications
Until recently, 20% to 30% of pediatric B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP-ALL) could not be classified into any of the established molecular subtypes. Recent molecular studies of such cases have, however, further clarified their mutational spectrum and identified new oncogenic subtypes consisting of cases with

Oda Y, Yamamoto H, Kohashi K, et al.
Soft tissue sarcomas: From a morphological to a molecular biological approach.
Pathol Int. 2017; 67(9):435-446 [PubMed] Related Publications
Recently developed molecular genetic techniques have led to the elucidation of tumor-specific genomic alterations and thereby the reclassification of tumor entities of soft tissue sarcoma. A solitary fibrous tumor-mimicking tumor with the AHRR-NCOA2 gene has been isolated as angiofibroma of soft tissue. As for small round cell sarcomas, novel fusion genes such as CIC-DUX4 and BCOR-CCNB3 have been identified in these tumor groups. SMARCB1/INI1 deficient tumors with round cell morphology are also expected to be reclassified in three types, based on the combination of their morphology and genotype. The identification of the MDM2 gene amplification in pleomorphic sarcomas has extended the entity of dedifferentiated liposarcoma (DDLS). Our recent molecular investigations elucidated candidates for novel therapeutic strategies. Activation of the Akt-mTOR pathway was correlated with poor prognosis or tumor grade in spindle cell sarcomas including malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor. In vitro and in vivo studies of transcription factor Forkhead Box M1 (FOXM1) demonstrated the close correlation between aggressive biological behavior or chemosensitivity and FOXM1 expression in synovial sarcoma, so far. Finally, in regard to the investigation of cancer-testis antigens, myxoid/round cell liposarcoma and synovial sarcoma showed frequent and high expression of PRAME and NY-ESO-1.

Oyama R, Takahashi M, Yoshida A, et al.
Generation of novel patient-derived CIC- DUX4 sarcoma xenografts and cell lines.
Sci Rep. 2017; 7(1):4712 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
CIC-DUX4 sarcoma (CDS) is a group of rare, mesenchymal, small round cell tumours that harbour the unique CIC-DUX4 translocation, which causes aberrant gene expression. CDS exhibits an aggressive course and poor clinical outcome, thus novel therapeutic approaches are needed for CDS treatment. Although patient-derived cancer models are an essential modality to develop novel therapies, none currently exist for CDS. Thus, the present study successfully established CDS patient-derived xenografts and subsequently generated two CDS cell lines from the grafted tumours. Notably, xenografts were histologically similar to the original patient tumour, and the expression of typical biomarkers was confirmed in the xenografts and cell lines. Moreover, the xenograft tumours and cell lines displayed high Src kinase activities, as assessed by peptide-based tyrosine kinase array. Upon screening 119 FDA-approved anti-cancer drugs, we found that only actinomycine D and doxorubicin were effectively suppress the proliferation among the drugs for standard therapy for Ewing sarcoma. However, we identified molecular targeting reagents, such as bortezomib and crizotinib that markedly suppressed the growth of CDS cells. Our models will be useful modalities to develop novel therapeutic strategies against CDS.

Tsukamoto Y, Futani H, Yoshiya S, et al.
Primary undifferentiated small round cell sarcoma of the deep abdominal wall with a novel variant of t(10;19) CIC-DUX4 gene fusion.
Pathol Res Pract. 2017; 213(10):1315-1321 [PubMed] Related Publications
We experienced a 38-year-old Japanese male with t(10;19) CIC-DUX4 -positive undifferentiated small round cell sarcoma in the deep abdominal wall. Three months before his first visit to our hospital, he noticed a mass in his right abdominal wall. Computed tomography on admission revealed a solid abdominal tumor 70×53mm in size and multiple small tumors in both lungs. The biopsy of the abdominal tumor revealed undifferentiated small round cell sarcoma, suggestive of Ewing sarcoma. Under the clinical diagnosis of Ewing-like sarcoma of the abdominal wall with multiple lung metastases, several cycles of ICE (ifosfamide, carboplatin and etoposide) therapy were performed. After the chemotherapy, the lung metastases disappeared, while the primary lesion rapidly grew. Additional VDC (vincristine, doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide) therapy was carried out without apparent effect. Although the surgical removal of the primary lesion was done, peritoneal dissemination and a huge metastatic liver tumor appeared thereafter. The patient died of disease progression two months after the surgery. The total clinical course was approximately one year, showing that the tumor was extremely aggressive. The tumor cells of the surgical specimen were positive for CD99, WT1, calretinin, INI1, ERG and Fli1 by immunohistochemistry. Fusion gene analyses using the frozen surgical material revealed negativity for EWSR1-Fli1, EWSR1-ERG and t(4;19) CIC-DUX4 fusions, but positivity for t(10;19) CIC-DUX4 fusion. Thus, we made a final pathological diagnosis of t(10;19) CIC-DUX4-positive undifferentiated small round cell sarcoma. To our knowledge, this is the 13th case of t(10;19) CIC-DUX4 undifferentiated small round cell sarcoma with precise clinicopathological information. Especially in our case, two types of t(10;19) CIC-DUX4 fusion transcripts were observed, both of which are in-frame and novel.

Charville GW, Wang WL, Ingram DR, et al.
EWSR1 fusion proteins mediate PAX7 expression in Ewing sarcoma.
Mod Pathol. 2017; 30(9):1312-1320 [PubMed] Related Publications
PAX7 is a paired-box transcription factor that is required for the developmental specification of adult skeletal muscle progenitors in mice. We previously demonstrated PAX7 expression as a marker of skeletal muscle differentiation in rhabdomyosarcoma. Here, using analyses of published whole-genome gene expression microarray data, we identify PAX7 as a gene with significantly increased expression in Ewing sarcoma in comparison to CIC-DUX4 round cell sarcoma. Analysis of PAX7 in a large cohort of 103 Ewing sarcoma cases by immunohistochemistry revealed expression in 99.0% of cases (102/103). PAX7 expression was noted in cases demonstrating three distinct Ewing sarcoma EWSR1 translocations involving FLI1, ERG, and NFATc2. No PAX7 expression was observed in any of 27 cases of CIC-DUX4 sarcoma by immunohistochemistry (0%; 0/27). Exploring the mechanism of PAX7 expression in Ewing sarcoma using curated RNA- and ChIP-sequencing data, we demonstrate that the EWSR1 fusion protein is required for PAX7 expression in Ewing sarcoma and identify a candidate EWSR1-FLI1-bound PAX7 enhancer that coincides with both a consensus GGAA repeat-containing binding site and a peak of regulatory H3K27 acetylation. Taken together, our findings provide mechanistic support for the utility of PAX7 immunohistochemistry in the diagnosis of Ewing sarcoma, while linking this sarcoma of uncertain histogenesis to a key transcriptional regulator of mammalian muscle progenitor cells.

Yoshida A, Arai Y, Kobayashi E, et al.
CIC break-apart fluorescence in-situ hybridization misses a subset of CIC-DUX4 sarcomas: a clinicopathological and molecular study.
Histopathology. 2017; 71(3):461-469 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIMS: Approximately 60-70% of high-grade round-cell sarcomas that lack the Ewing sarcoma breakpoint region 1 (EWSR1) rearrangement harbour a rearrangement of the CIC gene, most commonly CIC-DUX4. Recent studies have established that CIC-rearranged sarcomas constitute a distinct group characterized by recognizable histology and immunoprofiles, such as positivity for ETV4 and WT1 and negativity for NKX2.2. Although these sarcomas are diagnosed increasingly in practice by fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH) with CIC break-apart probes, the optimal modality to diagnose these sarcomas has not been determined. In this study, we describe four round-cell sarcomas that showed false-negative results by CIC break-apart FISH assays.
METHODS AND RESULTS: These sarcomas showed characteristic histology of CIC-rearranged sarcomas, and all were immunohistochemically positive for ETV4 and WT1 and negative for NKX2.2. Although FISH showed non-atypical negative signals for CIC rearrangement, high-throughput RNA sequencing identified CIC-DUX4 and its fusion breakpoint in all cases. Their clinical and histological findings, as well as fusion points determined by RNA sequencing, did not differ significantly from those of nine FISH-positive CIC-DUX4 sarcoma cases. We estimated that the FISH false-negative rate for CIC-rearranged sarcomas was 14%. Although neither histology nor immunoprofiles (e.g. ETV4 and WT1) are entirely sensitive or specific for CIC-rearranged sarcomas, the observation that these four cases were identified successfully by such phenotypes suggested their practical utility.
CONCLUSIONS: CIC break-apart FISH assays missed a significant minority of CIC-DUX4 sarcomas, and full awareness of typical morphology and judicious immunohistochemical work-ups, including analyses of ETV4 and WT1, should complement diagnostic assessment.

Donahue JE, Yakirevich E, Zhong S, et al.
Primary Spinal Epidural CIC-DUX4 Undifferentiated Sarcoma in a Child.
Pediatr Dev Pathol. 2018 Jul-Aug; 21(4):411-417 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Primitive round- or spindle-cell EWSR1-negative undifferentiated sarcomas harboring CIC-DUX4 gene fusion are the most common form of Ewing-like sarcomas. These tumors primarily occur in peripheral soft tissues, but examples have been described within viscera and the brain. As far as we are aware, CIC-DUX4 positive primary epidural spinal sarcoma has not been reported. Herein, we describe a T5-T6 epidural tumor in a 15-year-old girl in which many neoplastic cells had moderate and focally abundant cytoplasm, including plasmacytoid or rhabdoid cells, rather than the more common Ewing-like morphology described in the majority of such tumors. The diagnosis was confirmed by fluorescent in situ hybridization after the tumor was found to be WT-1 positive, and comprehensive genomic profiling demonstrated breakpoints in exon 20 and exon 1 of the CIC and DUX4 genes, respectively. After treatment with local radiation and systemic chemotherapy, resected recurrent tumor demonstrated more pleomorphic neoplastic cells as well as intracytoplasmic eosinophilic globules and nuclear pseudoinclusions which may reflect therapy-related changes. Unfortunately, there was further progression of tumor including the development of intracranial lesions, and the patient succumbed to her tumor 22 months after the original resection.

Camille A, Anne-Sophie B, Cécile P, et al.
Sarcoma With CIC-DUX4 Gene Fusion: Case Report of Kidney Tumor Location in a 12-year-old Boy.
Pediatr Dev Pathol. 2018 Jul-Aug; 21(4):406-410 [PubMed] Related Publications
Recent molecular advances have identified a novel sarcoma defined molecularly by oncogenic fusion of the genes CIC and DUX4 termed CIC-DUX4 sarcomas. The most common site of involvement was the trunk but some cases have been described in the head and neck and extremities. We report one of the first cases of primitive renal CIC-DUX4 sarcoma: a 12-year-old boy who presented a renal tumor, a vena cava thrombus, and lung metastases. The morphological and immunohistochemical analysis showed an undifferentiated sarcoma. Molecular analysis demonstrated a CIC-DUX4 translocation, confirmed by fluorescence in situ hybridization. Despite treatment with chemotherapy, the evolution was unfavorable and the patient died 17 months after the diagnosis in a context of brain metastases. The diagnosis of sarcoma with CIC-DUX4 gene fusion is difficult in lack of specific pathological characteristics emphasizing the need for molecular analysis. Treatment has not yet been codified for these very aggressive tumors.

Vendramini E, Giordan M, Giarin E, et al.
High expression of miR-125b-2 and SNORD116 noncoding RNA clusters characterize ERG-related B cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Oncotarget. 2017; 8(26):42398-42413 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
ERG-related leukemia is a B cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP ALL) subtype characterized by aberrant expression of DUX4 and ERG transcription factors, and highly recurrent ERG intragenic deletions. ERG-related patients have remarkably favorable outcome despite a high incidence of inauspicious IKZF1 aberrations.We describe clinical and genomic features of the ERG-related cases in an unselected cohort of B-other BCP ALL pediatric patients enrolled in the AIEOP ALL 2000 therapeutic protocol. We report a small noncoding RNA signature specific of ERG-related group, with up-regulation of miR-125b-2 cluster on chromosome 21 and several snoRNAs in the Prader-Willi locus at 15q11.2, including the orphan SNORD116 cluster.

Yoshimoto T, Tanaka M, Homme M, et al.
Cancer Res. 2017; 77(11):2927-2937 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications

Antonescu CR, Owosho AA, Zhang L, et al.
Sarcomas With CIC-rearrangements Are a Distinct Pathologic Entity With Aggressive Outcome: A Clinicopathologic and Molecular Study of 115 Cases.
Am J Surg Pathol. 2017; 41(7):941-949 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
CIC-DUX4 gene fusion, resulting from either a t(4;19) or t(10;19) translocation, is the most common genetic abnormality detected in EWSR1-negative small blue round cell tumors. Following their discovery it was debated if these tumors should be classified as variants of Ewing sarcoma (ie, atypical Ewing sarcoma) or as a stand-alone pathologic entity. As such the WHO classification temporarily grouped the CIC-rearranged tumors under undifferentiated sarcomas with round cell phenotype, until further clinical evidence was available. However, most studies reported so far include small series with limited follow-up information, which preclude a more definitive assessment. The present work investigates the clinicopathologic features of a large cohort of sarcomas with CIC gene rearrangement, to define their clinical presentation, morphologic spectrum, and outcome. Our study further examines the overall survival of the CIC-positive cohort compared with a control group of EWSR1-rearranged Ewing sarcoma matched for age and stage. The study cohort included 115 patients, with a mean age of 32 years and a slight male predominance. Most tumors occurred in the soft tissue (86%), predominantly deep-seated and equally divided among trunk and extremity, followed by visceral locations (12%) and rarely in the bone (3%). Microscopically, most tumors showed round to ovoid cytomorphology but half of the cases showed also focal areas of spindling and epithelioid/rhabdoid phenotype, with frequent myxoid stromal changes. Variable CD99 reactivity was seen in 84% cases, with a diffuse pattern only in 23% of cases, whereas nuclear WT1 was seen in 92%. A CIC-DUX4 fusion was detected in 57% of cases, with either DUX4 on 4q35 (35%) or on 10q26 in 25 (22%) cases. No FOXO4 gene rearrangements were present in 39 cases tested. Clinical follow-up was available in 57 patients, with a 5-year survival of 43%, which was significantly lower than the 77% 5-year survival in the control Ewing sarcoma group (P=0.002). Our findings show that CIC-DUX4 sarcomas occur most commonly in young adults within the somatic soft tissues, having a wide spectrum of morphology including round, epithelioid and spindle cells, and associated with an aggressive clinical course, with an inferior overall survival compared with Ewing sarcoma. The results support the classification of CIC-rearranged tumors as an independent molecular and clinical subset of small blue round cell tumors distinct from Ewing sarcoma.

Owosho AA, Estilo CL, Huryn JM, et al.
Head and Neck Round Cell Sarcomas: A Comparative Clinicopathologic Analysis of 2 Molecular Subsets: Ewing and CIC-Rearranged Sarcomas.
Head Neck Pathol. 2017; 11(4):450-459 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
CIC-rearranged sarcoma (CRS) is a relatively new entity defined by its pathognomonic genetic signature and undifferentiated round cell phenotype, initially grouped together with the 'Ewing sarcoma-like tumors'. However, increasing data suggest that these tumors should be regarded as a stand-alone pathologic entity. We conducted a clinicopathologic analysis on molecularly conformed Ewing sarcoma (ES) and CRS arising in the head and neck (HN) and compared to a well characterized cohort of ES and CRS from other locations. A total of 41 HN round cell sarcoma patients were selected from our institutional and consultation files, including 25 ES (median 20 years) and 16 CRS (median 29 years). Clinical follow-up information was available for all ES patients, ranging from 4 to 436 months (median 70 months), while for CRS, follow-up information was available in 11 patients (69%), ranging from 1 to 269 months (median 27 months). The most common location for ES was the facial and jaw bones (56%), while CRS occurred exclusively in the soft tissue, commonly in the neck. CRS showed variable CD99 staining in 75% of cases and diffuse WT1 (6/6) reactivity, while all ES expressed diffuse membranous staining for CD99 but none for WT1 (0/6). The 2-year overall survival (OS) rate for HN-CRS patients was 78%, while for HN-ES it was 100%. The OS of ES and CRS showed a trend toward a favorable outcome for HN-round cell sarcomas compared to other sites. Our findings suggest that HN-CRS have different clinical presentation and pathologic features compared to ES and should be classified as a stand-alone pathologic entity.

Shadle SC, Zhong JW, Campbell AE, et al.
DUX4-induced dsRNA and MYC mRNA stabilization activate apoptotic pathways in human cell models of facioscapulohumeral dystrophy.
PLoS Genet. 2017; 13(3):e1006658 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Facioscapulohumeral dystrophy (FSHD) is caused by the mis-expression of DUX4 in skeletal muscle cells. DUX4 is a transcription factor that activates genes normally associated with stem cell biology and its mis-expression in FSHD cells results in apoptosis. To identify genes and pathways necessary for DUX4-mediated apoptosis, we performed an siRNA screen in an RD rhabdomyosarcoma cell line with an inducible DUX4 transgene. Our screen identified components of the MYC-mediated apoptotic pathway and the double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) innate immune response pathway as mediators of DUX4-induced apoptosis. Further investigation revealed that DUX4 expression led to increased MYC mRNA, accumulation of nuclear dsRNA foci, and activation of the dsRNA response pathway in both RD cells and human myoblasts. Nuclear dsRNA foci were associated with aggregation of the exon junction complex component EIF4A3. The elevation of MYC mRNA, dsRNA accumulation, and EIF4A3 nuclear aggregates in FSHD muscle cells suggest that these processes might contribute to FSHD pathophysiology.

Kao YC, Sung YS, Chen CL, et al.
ETV transcriptional upregulation is more reliable than RNA sequencing algorithms and FISH in diagnosing round cell sarcomas with CIC gene rearrangements.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2017; 56(6):501-510 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
CIC rearrangements have been reported in two-thirds of EWSR1-negative small blue round cell tumors (SBRCTs). However, a number of SBRCTs remain unclassified despite exhaustive analysis. Fourteen SBRCTs lacking driver genetic events by RNA sequencing (RNAseq) analysis were collected. Unsupervised hierarchical clustering was performed using samples from our RNAseq database, including 13 SBRCTs with non-CIC genetic abnormalities and 2 CIC-rearranged angiosarcomas among others. Remarkably, all 14 study cases showed high mRNA levels of ETV1/4/5, and by unsupervised clustering most grouped into a distinct cluster, separate from other tumors. Based on these results indicating a close relationship with CIC-rearranged tumors, we manually inspected CIC reads in RNAseq data. FISH for CIC and DUX4 abnormalities and immunohistochemical stains for ETV4 were also performed. In the control group, only 2 CIC-rearranged angiosarcomas had high ETV1/4/5 expression. Upon manual inspection of CIC traces, 7 of 14 cases showed CIC-DUX4 fusion reads, 2 cases had DUX4-CIC reads, while the remaining 5 were negative. FISH showed CIC break-apart in 7 cases, including 5 cases lacking CIC-DUX4 or DUX4-CIC fusion reads on RNAseq manual inspection. However, no CIC abnormalities were detected by FISH in 6 cases with CIC-DUX4 or DUX4-CIC reads. ETV4 immunoreactivity was positive in 7 of 11 cases. Our results highlight the underperformance of FISH and RNAseq methods in diagnosing SBRCTs with CIC gene abnormalities. The downstream ETV1/4/5 transcriptional up-regulation appears highly sensitive and specific and can be used as a reliable molecular signature and diagnostic method for CIC fusion positive SBRCTs.

Yamada Y, Kuda M, Kohashi K, et al.
Histological and immunohistochemical characteristics of undifferentiated small round cell sarcomas associated with CIC-DUX4 and BCOR-CCNB3 fusion genes.
Virchows Arch. 2017; 470(4):373-380 [PubMed] Related Publications
CIC-DUX4 and BCOR-CCNB3 fusion-gene-associated small round cell sarcomas account for a proportion of pediatric small round cell sarcomas, but their pathological features have not been sufficiently clarified. We reviewed a large number of soft tissue tumors registered at our institution, retrieved the cases of unclassified tumors with a small round cell component, and subjected them to histopathological, immunohistochemical, and gene profile analysis. We reviewed 164 cases of unclassified tumors with a small round cell component and analyzed them by RT-PCR and FISH. Tumors positive for a specific fusion-gene were also subjected to histopathological and immunohistochemical examinations. We identified 16 cases of BCOR-CCNB3/CIC-associated (CIC-DUX4 or CIC gene rearrangement-positive) sarcomas. These included seven BCOR-CCNB3 sarcomas and nine CIC-associated sarcomas. Heterogeneous elements included a myxoid spindle cell component in three BCOR-CCNB3 sarcomas and an epithelioid cell component in two CIC-associated sarcomas (one CIC-DUX4-positive and one CIC-DUX4-negative sarcomas). Mitotic activity was low in both heterogeneous components. By immunohistochemistry, in seven BCOR-CCNB3 sarcomas expression of EMA was positive in two cases, of p63 in three, of CD56 in six, of TLE1 in seven, of NKX2.2 in two, of CCNB3 in seven, and of BCOR in six cases (one case could not be tested for BCOR). In nine cases of CIC-associated sarcoma, CD56 was expressed in five, alpha-smooth muscle actin in one, ERG in three, and CD99, WT1 and TLE1 each in eight cases. Both sarcoma types showed not only a small round cell component, but also a myxoid/epithelioid component with low mitotic activity.

Loke BN, Lee VKM, Sudhanshi J, et al.
Novel exon-exon breakpoint in
J Clin Pathol. 2017; 70(8):697-701 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIMS: We describe the clinical and pathological features and novel genetic findings of a case of
METHODS: Fusion gene detection using a next-generation sequencing-based anchored multiplex PCR technique (Archer FusionPlex Sarcoma Panel) was used to identify the novel fusion breakpoints of this
CONCLUSIONS: This case report describes an additional case of

Krskova L, Stejskalova E, Kabickova E, et al.
A t(4;19) pediatric undifferentiated sarcoma with a novel variant of the CIC-DUX4 fusion transcript.
Pathol Res Pract. 2017; 213(3):281-285 [PubMed] Related Publications
We report cytogenetic and molecular genetic analysis of a pediatric tumor positive for the CIC-DUX4 fusion. The tumor belongs to a rare, diagnostically challenging subgroup of undifferentiated small round cell sarcomas. A balanced t(4;19)(q35;q13.1-2) was identified by G-banding, as a sole cytogenetic finding. The translocation was also identified by the M-FISH technique. After RT-PCR, the tumor sample was positive for the CIC-DUX4 fusion. The PCR product contains a novel, so far unreported variant of the CIC-DUX4 fusion transcript, with a fusion of the exon 20 from the CIC gene and the exon 1 from the DUX4 gene.

Siegele B, Roberts J, Black JO, et al.
DUX4 Immunohistochemistry Is a Highly Sensitive and Specific Marker for CIC-DUX4 Fusion-positive Round Cell Tumor.
Am J Surg Pathol. 2017; 41(3):423-429 [PubMed] Related Publications
The histologic differential diagnosis of pediatric and adult round cell tumors is vast and includes the recently recognized entity CIC-DUX4 fusion-positive round cell tumor. The diagnosis of CIC-DUX4 tumor can be suggested by light microscopic and immunohistochemical features, but currently, definitive diagnosis requires ancillary genetic testing such as conventional karyotyping, fluorescence in situ hybridization, or molecular methods. We sought to determine whether DUX4 expression would serve as a fusion-specific immunohistochemical marker distinguishing CIC-DUX4 tumor from potential histologic mimics. A cohort of CIC-DUX4 fusion-positive round cell tumors harboring t(4;19)(q35;q13) and t(10;19)(q26;q13) translocations was designed, with additional inclusion of a case with a translocation confirmed to involve the CIC gene without delineation of the partner. Round cell tumors with potentially overlapping histologic features were also collected. Staining with a monoclonal antibody raised against the C-terminus of the DUX4 protein was applied to all cases. DUX4 immunohistochemistry exhibited diffuse, crisp, strong nuclear staining in all CIC-DUX4 fusion-positive round cell tumors (5/5, 100% sensitivity), and exhibited negative staining in nuclei of all of the other tested round cell tumors, including 20 Ewing sarcomas, 1 Ewing-like sarcoma, 11 alveolar rhabdomyosarcomas, 9 embryonal rhabdomyosarcomas, 12 synovial sarcomas, 7 desmoplastic small round cell tumors, 3 malignant rhabdoid tumors, 9 neuroblastomas, and 4 clear cell sarcomas (0/76, 100% specificity). Thus, in our experience, DUX4 immunostaining distinguishes CIC-DUX4 tumors from other round cell mimics. We recommend its use when CIC-DUX4 fusion-positive round cell tumor enters the histologic differential diagnosis.

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