DEK::AFF2 carcinoma of the sinonasal tract is an emerging entity. The tumor is typically characterized by papillary proliferation of non-keratinizing squamous epithelial cells with monotonous cytologic features, which may mimic other sinonasal tumors. The confirmation of this gene fusion has thus far relied solely on next-generation sequencing, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), or reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). This current study aimed to validate an immunohistochemical assay for AFF2 C-terminus as an ancillary marker. We first analyzed publicly available RNA sequencing data of sinonasal tumors from the national center for biotechnology information (NCBI) sequence read archive and identified 3 DEK::AFF2 carcinomas out of 28 sinonasal tumors. The gene expression of AFF2 was significantly higher in the fusion-positive cases compared to the wild-type tumors (p < 0.001), while DEK was not. We then optimized an immunohistochemical assay with an anti-AFF2 C-terminus antibody for ancillary diagnosis. Seventeen DEK::AFF2 carcinomas, including 11 cases with predominantly low-grade morphology and one showing glandular differentiation, as well as 78 DEK FISH-negative sinonasal tumors were evaluated by AFF2 immunohistochemistry (IHC). Sixteen of the 17 DEK::AFF2 carcinomas showed nuclear AFF2 expression in ≥30% of tumor cells, including one decalcified case that failed FISH and RT-PCR confirmation. The one case that was negative for AFF2 IHC in the tumor cells also lacked expression in the internal positive control. It was thus considered a failure of the IHC rather than a truly negative case and was excluded from the statistical analysis. All DEK FISH-negative sinonasal tumors were negative for nuclear AFF2 expression. The nuclear expression of AFF2 IHC showed 100% sensitivity and specificity for DEK::AFF2 carcinoma. Accordingly, AFF2 IHC is a highly sensitive and specific ancillary marker that distinguishes DEK-AFF2 carcinoma from the other sinonasal tumors with overlapping morphological features and may be an especially useful alternative for decalcified specimens.
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