Synovial sarcoma of the upper digestive tract: A report of two cases with demonstration of the X;18 translocation by fluorescence in situ hybridization

Steven D. Billings, Lorraine F. Meisner, Oscar W. Cummings, Eduardo Tejada

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Two cases of synovial sarcoma that arose in the upper digestive tract are reported. One case was a polypoid mass that arose at the gastroesophageal junction; the other was a large intramural mass that arose in the wall of the stomach. Both cases had a classic biphasic pattern. In the stomach tumor, the biphasic morphology was focal and there was an abrupt transition to poorly differentiated synovial sarcoma. The tumors had immunohistochemical features that were consistent with synovial sarcoma. Ultrastructural evaluation of the gastroesophageal tumor supported the diagnosis. The diagnostic X;18 translocation was demonstrated by fluorescence in situ hybridization on sections from paraffin-embedded tissue in 86% and 50% of interphase nuclei from the gastroesophageal and gastric tumor, respectively. The translocation was present in equal frequency in the epithelial and spindle cells in the biphasic areas and the poorly differentiated areas of the gastric tumor, indicating that the development of the more aggressive subclone was probably due to genetic mutations not encompassing the SYT-SSX gene fusion product. We are aware of only five reported cases of synovial sarcoma arising in the digestive tract, all in the proximal esophagus. These cases are the first reported arising in the gastroesophageal junction and stomach and the only cases of synovial sarcoma of the digestive tract in which the diagnostic translocation was demonstrated. Sarcomatoid carcinoma (carcinosarcoma) and gastrointestinal stromal tumor are the main differential diagnoses for synovial sarcoma in this site. Synovial sarcoma of the digestive tract may be underdiagnosed, and its recognition may have important clinical implications. Fluorescence in situ hybridization is helpful in making this distinction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-76
Number of pages9
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2000


  • Chromosomal translocation
  • Esophageal neoplasms
  • Fluorescence in situ hybridization
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Stomach neoplasms
  • Synovial sarcoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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