The Predictive Potential of Molecular Detection in the Nonmetastatic Ewing Family of Tumors

Smadar Avigad, Ian J. Cohen, Julia Zilberstein, Ella Liberzon, Yacov Goshen, Shifra Ash, Isaac Meller, Yehuda Kollender, Josephine Issakov, Rina Zaizov, Isaac Yaniv

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND. Tumors in the Ewing family (EFTs) are the second most common bone tumors in children and adolescents. Despite aggressive chemotherapy, one-third of patients with localized tumor still may develop recurrences. This implies that not all tumor cells are eradicated and that the patients may have a level of residual disease, EFTs are characterized by specific chromosomal translocations that result in chimeric transcripts that can be detected with reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis. METHODS. The authors report the prognostic potential of the positive chimeric transcript (EWS/FLI1) in bone marrow (BM) and/or peripheral blood (PBL) in 26 patients with EFT during a long follow-up period (median, 61 months). RESULTS. At diagnosis, 43% of patients had positive RT-PCR BM results, with no correlation to tumor progression (P = 0.3). During follow-up, 58% of patients had positive RT-PCR results in their last sample analyzed (BM and/or PBL). A highly significant correlation between the presence of the chimeric transcript and disease progression was detected (P = 0.0028). In a multivariate analysis, the percentage of tumor necrosis (P = 0.007) and RT-PCR results during follow-up (P = 0.02) remained significant prognostic markers. In 10 of 11 patients who developed disease progression, BM and/or PBL samples were positive for the chimeric transcript before evidence of overt clinical recurrence. CONCLUSIONS. Occult tumor cells in BM and/or PBL samples during long follow-up are strong predictors of recurrent disease in patients with nonmetastatic EFTs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1053-1058
Number of pages6
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2004


  • Chimeric transcript
  • Ewing sarcoma
  • Prediction
  • Recurrence


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