Ewing sarcoma (ES), "Ewing-like sarcoma" (ELS) and desmoplastic small round cell tumors (DSRCT) can masquerade as other tumor types, particularly neuroendocrine neoplasms and receive inappropriate treatment. We retrieved 115 cases of ES, ELS and DSRCT seen over 17 years in a tertiary center. An initial misdiagnosis or incomplete diagnosis occurred in 6/93 (6.4%) of ES/ELS and 5/22 (22.7%) of DSRCT cases. The most frequent misdiagnosis was small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma. While any misdiagnosis or incomplete classification is almost certainly multifactorial, the most common identified reason for erroneous/incomplete initial reporting was expression of neuroendocrine markers. Other contributing factors included keratin expression, older patient age and apparently unusual tumor location. Most patients treated with a non-sarcoma chemotherapy regimen expired, while those who received a sarcoma-related regimen were alive as of last evaluation. Increased awareness of this diagnostic pitfall is needed in evaluating cases of round cell malignancies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMedical sciences (Basel, Switzerland)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 15 2021


  • desmoplastic small round cell tumor
  • diagnostic errors
  • Ewing
  • neuroendocrine tumors
  • sarcoma


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