Rita Alaggio

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York, United States

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Publications (189)472.83 Total impact

  • Rita Alaggio · Cheryl M. Coffin

    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Pediatric and Developmental Pathology
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    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Minerva gastroenterologica e dietologica
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    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Minerva gastroenterologica e dietologica
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Infantile fibrosarcoma (IFS) is a very rare disease occurring in young infants characterised by a high local aggressiveness but overall with a favourable survival. To try to reduce the total burden of therapy, the European pediatric Soft tissue sarcoma Study Group has developed conservative therapeutic recommendations according to initial resectability. Material and methods: Between 2005 and 2012, children with localised IFS were prospectively registered. Initial surgery was suggested only if possible without mutilation. Patients with initial complete (IRS-group I/R0) or microscopic incomplete (group II/R1) resection had no further therapy. Patients with initial inoperable tumour (group III/R2) received first-line vincristine-actinomycin-D chemotherapy (VA). Delayed conservative surgery was planned after tumour reduction. Aggressive local therapy (mutilating surgery or external radiotherapy) was discouraged. Results: A total of 50 infants (median age 1.4 months), were included in the study. ETV6-NTRK3 transcript was present in 87.2% of patients where investigation was performed. According to initial surgery, 11 patients were classified as group I, 8 as group II and 31 as group III. VA chemotherapy was first delivered to 25 children with IRS-III/R2 and one with IRS-II/R1 disease. Response rate to VA was 68.0%. Mutilating surgery was only performed in three cases. After a median follow-up of 4.7 years (range 1.9-9.0), 3-year event-free survival and overall survival were respectively 84.0% (95% confidence interval [CI] 70.5-91.7) and 94.0% (95% CI 82.5-98.0). Conclusions: Conservative therapy is possible in IFS as only three children required mutilating surgery, and alkylating or anthracycline based chemotherapy was avoided in 71.0% of patients needing chemotherapy. VA regimen should be first line therapy in order to reduce long term effects.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Pediatric Blood & Cancer
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    ABSTRACT: Lipoblastoma (LB) is a rare benign adipocytic tumor of childhood occasionally showing histological similarities to myxoid liposarcoma (ML) or well-differentiated liposarcoma (WDL). p16 immunohistochemistry has proved to be useful in distinguishing various types of liposarcomas, in particular WDL from lipoma, with higher sensitivity and specificity than MDM2 and CDK4 immunohistochemistry. In this study, we reported the histologic features of a series of 30 LB with emphasis on the potential diagnostic pitfalls and investigated the immunohistochemical expression of p16. Moreover, p16 immunostaining was performed in 16 liposarcomas (11 WDL and 5 ML), 16 lipomas, and 16 cases of liponecrosis in order to evaluate its usefulness in the differential diagnosis of challenging lesions occurring in older children. Overall, p16 immunostaining was positive in 3 LBs and in 12 out of 16 liposarcomas (10 WDL and 2 ML), with a sensitivity of 75%, a specificity of 90%, a positive predictive value of 80%, and a negative predictive value of 87%. All lipomas were p16 negative, whereas 5 liponecroses were positive. Accounting altogether the benign lesions versus liposarcomas, p16 showed a sensitivity of 75%, a specificity of 87%, a positive predictive value of 60%, and a negative predictive value of 93%. Our data suggest that a negative p16 immunostaining may be helpful in excluding a liposarcoma when occurring in unusual clinical contexts, such as in adolescence or late recurrence. However, such finding should be interpreted with caution since also some liposarcomas lack p16 and occasional LBs are positive.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Human pathology
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: Hirschsprung's disease (HSCR) results from a malformation of the enteric nervous system. A congenital absence of intrinsic ganglion cells from the distal rectum and a variable length of the contiguous bowel is the required diagnostic feature of Hirschsprung's disease and total colonic aganglionosis (TCA). We evaluated the utility of a monoclonal antibody directed against glypican 3 (GPC-3), a membrane bound protein involved in regulation of the signaling of Wingless-types (WNTs), Hedgehogs (Hh), Fibroblast Growth Factors (FGFs), and Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMPs), in the detection of ganglion cells in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue sections. Methods: The presence/absence of ganglion cells was evaluated retrospectively by immunohistochemical staining for calretinin and GPC-3 in tissue specimens; a total of 15 patients who underwent colectomy (total or sub-total) for histologically proven aganglionosis (14 HSCR, 1 TCA) and 5 rectal suction biopsies (4HSCR-B, 1 TCA-B) were considered. From the 20 considered cases, a total of 60 tissue specimens (three for each patient) were selected. Thirty additional normal (N) colonic mucosa biopsy samples were also included. Results: GPC-3 constantly identified ganglion cell bodies in all but 2 normal biopsies (with normal presentation of ganglion cells on H&E stain), and was negative in all 60 aganglionotic biopsies; these results were reflective of calretinin staining pattern. Conclusions: This study indicates that monoclonal anti-GPC-3 might prove to be useful immunohistochemical marker in the identification of ganglion cells in paraffin-embedded rectal tissue specimens and suction biopsies. Further studies in larger series will contribute to demonstrate its utility as an ancillary marker in the histological assessment of HSCR aganglionosis.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Journal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition
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    ABSTRACT: Sclerosing rhabdomyosarcoma (ScRMS) and spindle cell rhabdomyosarcoma (SRMS) have been recently reclassified as a stand-alone pathologic entity, separate from embryonal RMS. Genetically, a subset of the congenital cases display NCOA2 gene rearrangements, whereas tumors occurring in older children or adults harbor MYOD1 gene mutations with or without coexisting PIK3CA mutations. Despite these recent advances, a significant number of tumors lack known genetic alterations. In this study we sought to investigate a large group of pediatric SRMS/ScRMS, spanning a diverse clinical and pathologic spectrum, by using a combined fluorescence in situ hybridization, targeted DNA, and whole-transcriptome sequencing methodology for a more definitive molecular classification. A total of 26 SRMS and ScRMS cases were selected from the 2 participating institutions for the molecular analysis. Ten of the 11 congenital/infantile SRMS showed recurrent fusion genes: with novel VGLL2 rearrangements seen in 7 (63%), including VGLL2-CITED2 fusion in 4 and VGLL2-NCOA2 in 2 cases. Three (27%) cases harbored the previously described NCOA2 gene fusions, including TEAD1-NCOA2 in 2 and SRF-NCOA2 in 1. All fusion-positive congenital/infantile SRMS patients with available long-term follow-up were alive and well, none developing distant metastases. Among the remaining 15 SRMS patients older than 1 year, 10 (67%) showed MYOD1 L122R mutations, most of them following a fatal outcome despite an aggressive multimodality treatment. All 4 cases harboring coexisting MYOD1/PIK3CA mutations shared sclerosing morphology. All 5 fusion/mutation-negative SRMS cases presented as intra-abdominal or paratesticular lesions.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · The American journal of surgical pathology
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    ABSTRACT: Omental mesenteric myxoid hamartoma (OMH) is a distinctive myxoid lesion of infancy, characterized by a benign clinical behavior. In the current World Health Organization (WHO) classification of soft tissue tumors, it is considered as part of the morphologic spectrum of inflammatory myofibroblastic tumors (IMT), but this relationship with IMT is still subject to debate. Four lesions with histologic features of OMH occurring in newborns and toddlers are described and compared with classic, ALK-positive IMT. All OMH showed a peculiar dot-like immunostaining for ALK, which, in one of the cases, was cytogenetically found to be associated with an inversion of the ALK gene. While OMHs were positive for smooth muscle actin (SMA), desmin, WT1, podoplanin, and cytokeratins (CAM5.2 and AE1-3), IMT were consistently positive only for SMA (10 cases). ALK-1 displayed cytoplasmic staining in IMT and characteristic paranuclear dot-like staining in OMH.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Archiv für Pathologische Anatomie und Physiologie und für Klinische Medicin
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    Dataset: S1 Table

    Full-text · Dataset · Jul 2015
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to investigate the expression of DAX-1 in a series of pediatric rhabdomyosarcomas (RMS) with known translocation and compare it to Ap2β, known to be selectively expressed in ARMS. DESIGN: We revised a series of 71 alveolar rhabdomyosarcomas (ARMS), enrolled in the Italian Protocols RMS 79 and 96, and 23 embryonal rhabdomyosarcomas (ERMS) as controls. Before investigating Ap2β and DAX-1, ARMS were reviewed and reclassified as 48 ARMS and 23 non-ARMS. RESULTS: Translocation positive ARMS showed a characteristic Ap2β/DAX-1+ staining pattern in 78% of cases, while 76% of classic ERMS were negative for both. Ap2β alone was positive in 3.9% of RMS lacking translocation, whereas DAX-1 alone was positive in 25.4%. Conversely, 9% and 6% of translocation positive ARMS were positive only for DAX-1 or Ap2β, respectively. The 23 non-ARMS shared the same phenotype as ERMS but had a higher frequency of DAX-1 expression. CONCLUSIONS: DAX-1 is less specific than Ap2β, however it is a sensitive marker for translocation positive ARMS and can be helpful in their diagnosis if used in combination with Ap2β.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · PLoS ONE

  • No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Pancreatology
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    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Pancreatology
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    ABSTRACT: SUMMARY Five children with a neuroendocrine tumour (NET) of the appendix associated with a parasitic bowel infection are described, and the possibility of inflammation-triggered carcinogenesis is discussed. Schistosoma haematobium is linked primarily to bladder cancer but it has been reported in association with several other histotypes, including NETs of the gastrointestinal tract. Conversely, Enterobius vermicularis has not yet been claimed to participate in the onset of pre-cancerous conditions or tumours. The rare occurrence of contemporary appendiceal NETs and parasitic infection, raises the intriguing hypothesis of an inflammation-related carcinogenesis, although a cause-effect relationship cannot be established. Larger international series of childhood appendiceal NETs, which also include countries with higher prevalence of parasitic bowel infections, are needed to further clarify this possible cause-effect relationship.
    No preview · Article · May 2015
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    Cosimo Gigante · Marco Corradin · Rita Alaggio
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    ABSTRACT: Focal Myositis is a rare pseudotumor of unknown aetiology that is often difficult to diagnose and treat. Typically afflicting people in adulthood, it has occasionally been reported also among children. the aim of this study is to review the literature of Focal Myositis in paediatric age in order to compare the clinical manifestation and the various treatment suggested by different authors. this article describes a 6-year-old boy with focal myositis in gracilis muscle successfully treated by conservative methods, including nocturnal leg traction, intensive physiokinesi therapy and articulated knee orthosis guided to progressive extension. Furthermore a systematic review of literature concerning focal myositis in paediatric age is reported. our case and the review of literature suggests that conservative methods should be the first-choice treatment for FM in paediatric age and that surgery should be strictly reserved for selected cases where non-invasive methods have previously failed.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · Muscles
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    ABSTRACT: Ewing sarcoma family tumors (EFTs) of the head and neck are rare and may be difficult to diagnose, as they display significant histologic overlap with other more common undifferentiated small blue round cell malignancies. Occasionally, EFTs may exhibit overt epithelial differentiation in the form of diffuse cytokeratin immunoexpression or squamous pearls, resembling the so-called adamantinoma-like EFTs and being challenging to distinguish from bona fide carcinomas. Furthermore, the presence of EWSR1 gene rearrangement correlated with strong keratin expression may suggest a myoepithelial carcinoma. Herein, we analyze a series of 7 adamantinoma-like EFTs of the head and neck, most of them being initially misdiagnosed as carcinomas because of their anatomic location and strong cytokeratin immunoexpression, and subsequently reclassified as EFT by molecular techniques. The tumors arose in the sinonasal tract (n=2), parotid gland (n=2), thyroid gland (n=2), and orbit (n=1), in patients ranging in age from 7 to 56 years (mean, 31 y). Microscopically, they departed from the typical EFT morphology by growing as nests with peripheral nuclear palisading and prominent interlobular fibrosis, imparting a distinctly basaloid appearance. Moreover, 2 cases exhibited overt keratinization in the form of squamous pearls, and 1 sinonasal tumor demonstrated areas of intraepithelial growth. All cases were positive for CD99, pancytokeratin, and p40. A subset of cases showed synaptophysin, S100 protein, and/or p16 reactivity, further confounding the diagnosis. Fluorescence in situ hybridization assays showed EWSR1 and FLI1 rearrangements in all cases. Our results reinforce that a subset of head and neck EFTs may show strong cytokeratin expression or focal keratinization, and are therefore histologically indistinguishable from more common true epithelial neoplasms. Thus, CD99 should be included in the immunopanel of a round cell malignancy regardless of strong cytokeratin expression or anatomic location, and a strong and diffuse CD99 positivity should prompt molecular testing for the presence of EWSR1 gene rearrangements.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2015 · The American journal of surgical pathology
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    ABSTRACT: Cyclin D1 amplification and/or overexpression contribute to the loss of the regulatory circuits that govern G1-S transition phase of the cell cycle, playing pivotal roles in different human malignant tumors, including breast, colon, prostate cancer, lymphoma, melanoma and neuroblastoma. In vitro studies have shown that cyclin D1 is overexpressed in Ewing's sarcoma (EWS)/peripheral Primitive Neuroectodermal Tumor (pPNET), but not in rhabdomyosarcoma cell lines. Only a few immunohistochemical studies are available on cyclin D1 expression in EWS/pPNET, which confirmed its expression only in a limited number of cases. The aim of the present study was a comparative immunohistochemical analysis of the expression and distribution of cyclin D1 in a large series of pediatric/adolescent soft tissue EWS/pPNETs and rhabdomyosarcomas (both embryonal and alveolar subtypes) to assess its potential usefulness in their differential diagnosis. Notably cyclin D1 was strongly and diffusely expressed in all cases (20/20) of EWS/pPNET, while it was lacked in all cases (15/15) of rhabdomyosarcomas. Immunohistochemical overexpression of cyclin D1 in EWS/pPNET is a novel finding which could be exploitable as a diagnostic immunomarker for this tumor. Although highly sensitive, cyclin D1 is not specific for EWS/pPNET, and thus it should not be evaluated alone but in the context of a wide immunohistochemical panel. Accordingly, we first emphasize that when pathologists are dealing with a small round blue cell tumor of soft tissues in pediatric/adolescent patients, a strong and diffuse nuclear expression of cyclin D1 is of complementary diagnostic value to CD99 and FLI-1 in confirming diagnosis of EWS/pPNET and in ruling out rhabdomyosarcoma. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2015 · Acta Histochemica
  • R Alaggio · P Midrio · A Sgrò · G Piovan · V Guzzardo · R Donato · G Sorci · P Lago · P G Gamba
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    ABSTRACT: Background: CDH is a major birth defect, characterized by high mortality. How the initial defective mesenchymal substructures affects muscle malformation is unclear. Defects of genes involved in diaphragmatic development, such as friend-of-GATA2 (Fog2), may play an important role in its pathogenesis. We investigated the expression of Fog2 and proteins of myogenesis in a series of CDH and in diaphragms at different fetal ages, in order to clarify the role of muscular components during diaphragmatic development in cases with CDH. Material and methods: Specimen were obtained from seven diaphragms of CDH cases undergoing surgery, 3 entire diaphragms from non repaired CDH, 5 control diaphragms at different gestational ages (16, 17, 22, 32, and 40g.w.), and 3 biopsy samples of normal voluntary muscle. The thickness of diaphragms at the edge of the defect in CDH and in developing diaphragms was measured. All samples were processed for HE staining and immunohistochemistry. Immunohistochemical expression of MyoD, Myf4, Pax7, Mib1 and Fog2 was evaluated. Results: Mean thickness at the edge of the defect was 4.14mm. Contralateral hemi-diaphragm in 3 autopsies and in controls at 32 and 40weeks measured 2.25mm; histology showed a higher density of desmin-positive muscular cells at the edge of defect. CDH displayed scattered Myf4-positive cells (range 0%-10%, mean 2.4%), numerous Pax7-positive cells (range 0%-24%, mean 12.1%) and less than 1% Mib1-positive cells. Controls showed a reduction of positive cell with the progression of gestational age for Myf4 (30% at 16 weeks, 20% at 17 weeks, 5% at 22 weeks, 1% at 32 and 40 weeks), Pax7 (85% at 16 weeks and 17 weeks, 35% at 22 weeks, 11% at 32 weeks) and Mib1 (20% at 16 weeks, 8% at 17 weeks, 7% at 22weeks, 2% at 32 weeks). Fog-2 was diffusely positive in mesenchymal, mesothelial and muscular cells, in diaphragms from 16 to 22 weeks, decreasing to 20% of positive muscular cells in 32-week diaphragm. In CDH only mesothelial and mesenchymal cells were positive. Stem cell markers were negative in cases and controls. Comment: CDH shows a thick muscular border, with high number of mature muscle cells and significant increase of quiescent satellite cells (PAX7+, Mib1-). Abnormal architecture may affect the normal process of myogenesis and thus signaling and cell-cell interactions of myocytes. The expression of Fog2 in mesothelial and mesenchymal cells in CDH demonstrates the absence of a genetic defect involving Fog2 in our cases. Being Fog2 expressed in muscle cells at early stage supports the hypothesis that the altered diaphragmatic genesis may undermine also the muscular component instead of the only mesenchymal one.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2015 · Journal of Pediatric Surgery
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    ABSTRACT: Approximately 50% of conventional inflammatory myofibroblastic tumors (IMTs) harbor ALK gene rearrangement and overexpress ALK. Recently, gene fusions involving other kinases have been implicated in the pathogenesis of IMT, including ROS1 and in 1 patient PDGFRB. However, it remains uncertain whether the emerging genotypes correlate with clinicopathologic characteristics of IMT. In this study, we expand the molecular investigation of IMT in a large cohort of different clinical presentations and analyze for potential genotype-phenotype associations. Criteria for inclusion in the study were typical morphology and tissue availability for molecular studies. The lack of ALK immunoreactivity was not an excluding factor. As overlapping gene fusions involving actionable kinases are emerging in both IMT and lung cancer, we set out to evaluate abnormalities in ALK, ROS1, PDGFRB, NTRK1, and RET by fluorescence in situ hybridization. In addition, next-generation paired-end RNA sequencing and FusionSeq algorithm was applied in 4 cases, which identified EML4-ALK fusions in 2 cases. Of the 62 IMTs (25 children and 37 adults), 35 (56%) showed ALK gene rearrangement. Of note, EML4-ALK inversion was noted in 7 (20%) cases, seen mainly in the lung and soft tissue of young children including 2 lesions from newborns. There were 6 (10%) ROS1-rearranged IMTs, all except 1 presenting in children, mainly in the lung and intra-abdominally and showed a distinctive fascicular growth of spindle cells with long cell processes, often positive for ROS1 immunohistochemistry. Two of the cases showed TFG-ROS1 fusions. Interestingly, 1 adult IMT revealed a RET gene rearrangement, a previously unreported finding. Our results show that 42/62 (68%) IMTs are characterized by kinase fusions, offering a rationale for targeted therapeutic strategies. Interestingly, 90% of fusion-negative IMTs were seen in adults, whereas >90% of pediatric IMT showed gene rearrangements. EML4-ALK inversion and ROS1 fusions emerge as common fusion abnormalities in IMT, closely recapitulating the pattern seen in lung cancer.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2015 · American Journal of Surgical Pathology
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    ABSTRACT: The literature describes 15 cases of congenital pancreatoblastoma (PB): 5 had prenatal diagnosis, none had metastases at diagnosis, 7 were associated with Beckwith–Wiedemann syndrome (BWS). In 13 cases resection was radical, while in 2 there were macroscopic residues. Only one patient underwent chemotherapy after distant recurrence. All children are alive except one who died because of problems related to BWS. Our goal is to describe the approach adopted in an infant with congenital PB treated in our center. After a prenatal third semester diagnosis of abdominal anechoic lesion, the radiological investigations (ultrasound, MRI) performed at birth described a cystic lesion of unclear nature. We proceeded to laparoscopic exploration, transformed into open approach after the detection of a lesion located in the body of the pancreas; this lesion was resected, preserving the head and tail of pancreas. The histological diagnosis showed a completely excised PB. After excluding metastatic lesions, we decided to perform only careful follow-up without chemotherapy. The follow-up at 12 months is negative. Although PB is a malignant tumor that requires a multidisciplinary treatment, the congenital cases seem to have a less aggressive biological behavior. The treatment, therefore, in case of complete resection, could be only surgical, followed by a careful follow-up. These forms are often associated with congenital BWS, but in our case the patient did not have the typical characteristics of the syndrome.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Journal of Pediatric Surgery Case Reports

  • No preview · Conference Paper · Feb 2015

Publication Stats

2k Citations
472.83 Total Impact Points


  • 2015
    • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
      New York, New York, United States
  • 2009-2015
    • It-Robotics
      Vicenza, Veneto, Italy
  • 2002-2015
    • University of Padova
      • • Department of Pediatrics
      • • Department of Medicine DIMED
      • • Dipartimento di Scienze Mediche e Chirurgiche
      Padua, Veneto, Italy
  • 2006-2014
    • University-Hospital of Padova
      Padua, Veneto, Italy
  • 2005
    • Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù
      Roma, Latium, Italy