Two New Research Studies on Alveolar Soft Part Sarcoma

Two scientific publications on Alveolar Soft Part Sarcoma have been recently published: “Angiogenesis-promoting gene patterns in Alveolar Soft Part Sarcoma” by Lazar et al., 2007 (from M. D. Anderson Cancer Center) and “Immunohistochemical discrimination between the ASPL-TFE3 fusion proteins of Alveolar Soft Part Sarcoma” by Vistica et al., 2008 (from The National Cancer Center).

Lazar and colleagues analyze expression of genes, which are known to modulate angiogenesis. Angiogenesis is the process involving the growth of new blood vessels to supply blood to organs, and in the context of cancer, to malignant tumors. In his study Lazar finds that at least 18 of these genes are uniquely over expressed in ASPS. Lazar uses bioinformatics analyses to show that at least five of these genes contain regulatory elements that may directly be induced by the ASPL-TFE3 fusion protein, the translocation product of ASPS (ASPL-TFE3 fusion protein). The induction of these genes will then activate angiogenesis. Lazar’s study further suggests that the cure for ASPS may be achieved by therapies that inhibit angiogenesis. The material for this study comes from 33 ASPS tumor samples from patients who were treated at MD Anderson in 1986-2005. This last point indicates the importance of donating tumor samples to support ASPS research.

Vistica and colleagues describe the development of a new tool (antibody-based diagnostic detection) that easily discriminates between the two forms of Alveolar Soft Part Sarcoma: Type I and Type II. ASPS is characterized by a chromosomal translocation of two chromosomes: X and 17. This translocation forms the ASPL-TFE3 fusion transcript (see above). One of two different ASPL-TFE3 fusion transcripts is found in ASPS tumors, producing type 1 or type 2 fusion proteins. Currently, it is not known if the prognosis of ASPS patients with type 1 is different from those with type 2. This diagnostic tool by Vistica enables detection of the ASPL-TFE3 fusion proteins, and the discrimination between the two ASPS types.


Yosef Landesman, Ph.D.
President & Cancer Research Director
Cure Alveolar Soft Part Sarcoma International (iCureASPS)