ALK oncogenic activation mechanisms were characterized in four conventional spindle-cell inflammatory myofibroblastic tumours (IMT) and five atypical IMT, each of which had ALK genomic perturbations. Constitutively activated ALK oncoproteins were purified by ALK immunoprecipitation and electrophoresis, and were characterized by mass spectrometry. The four conventional IMT had TPM3/4-ALK fusions (two cases) or DCTN1-ALK fusions (two cases), whereas two atypical spindle-cell IMT had TFG-ALK and TPM3-ALK fusion in one case each, and three epithelioid inflammatory myofibroblastic sarcomas had RANBP2-ALK fusions in two cases, and a novel RRBP1-ALK fusion in one case. The epithelioid inflammatory myofibroblastic sarcoma with RRBP1-ALK fusion had cytoplasmic ALK expression with perinuclear accentuation, different from the nuclear membranous ALK localization in epithelioid inflammatory myofibroblastic sarcomas with RANBP2-ALK fusions. Evaluation of three additional uncharacterized epithelioid inflammatory myofibroblastic sarcomas with ALK cytoplasmic/perinuclear- accentuation expression demonstrated RRBP1-ALK fusion in two cases. These studies show that atypical spindle-cell IMT can utilize the same ALK fusion mechanisms described previously in conventional IMT, whereas in clinically aggressive epithelioid inflammatory myofibroblastic sarcoma we identify a novel recurrent ALK oncogenic mechanism, resulting from fusion with the RRBP1 gene.
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