Expression of enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) protein in histiocytic and dendritic cell neoplasms with evidence for p-ERK1/2-related, but not MYC-or p-STAT3-related cell signaling

Xuejun Tian, Jie Xu, Christopher Fletcher, Jason L. Hornick, David M. Dorfman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


EZH2 is an important enzymatic subunit of the epigenetic regulator polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2), which controls gene silencing through post-translational modification, and is overexpressed in various carcinomas and hematopoietic neoplasms. We found that the majority of cases of histiocytic and dendritic cell neoplasms, including histiocytic sarcoma, follicular dendritic cell sarcoma, Langerhans cell histiocytosis, and interdigitating dendritic cell sarcoma, show strong EZH2 expression by immunohistochemical staining, in contrast to benign histiocytic lesions and normal cellular counterparts, which did not show EZH2 expression, suggesting that this molecule may function as an oncogenic protein in these neoplasms. We correlated EZH2 expression with that of p-ERK1/2, MYC, and p-STAT3, potential regulators of EZH2, and found that 60-80% of these cases showed strong p-ERK1/2 expression, and only a minority of cases showed positivity for MYC or p-STAT3 in neoplastic cells. In cases of follicular dendritic cell sarcoma, Langerhans cell histiocytosis, histiocytic sarcoma, and interdigitating dendritic cell sarcoma with strong EZH2 expression, 90%, 89%, 70%, and 100% of cases showed co-expression of p-ERK1/2 with EZH2, respectively, while only a small percentage of these cases showed MYC or p-STAT3 co-expression with EZH2 (?30%). These findings suggest that the p-ERK1/2 signaling cascade, but not the p-STAT3 and MYC signaling cascades, may regulate EZH2 expression in histiocytic and dendritic cell neoplasms, and that EZH2 and the p-ERK1/2 signaling cascade could serve as therapeutic targets for the treatment of these neoplasms. Interestingly, only a minority of cases of blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm exhibited high EZH2 expression, and only a minority of these cases showed p-ERK1/2 co-expression, suggesting that alternative mechanisms may contribute to tumorigenesis in this aggressive neoplasm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)553-561
Number of pages9
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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