Carcinosarcomas: Tumors in transition?

Jason A. Somarelli, Mary Keara Boss, Jonathan I. Epstein, Andrew J. Armstrong, Mariano A. Garcia-Blanco

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Carcinosarcomas are rare, biphasic tumors that are comprised of carcinomatous and sarcomatous elements. While the exact mechanism by which these two phenotypes arise within a single tumor remains unclear, molecular evidence indicates that the epitheliod and spindle-cell components share a clonal origin. We propose that the biphasic nature of these neoplasms may represent an extreme case of epithelial plasticity, in which an epithelial-like cell undergoes a transition to a more mesenchymal phenotype. The present review will discuss both the histological and molecular biological evidence of the involvement of epithelial plasticity in driving the mixed phenotypes observed in carcinosarcomas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)673-687
Number of pages15
JournalHistology and histopathology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2015


  • EMT
  • Epithelial-mesenchymal transition
  • MET
  • Mesenchymal-epithelial transition
  • Sarcomatoid carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology


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