Triton tumors are rare variants of malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST) with muscle differentiation, often seen in patients with neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1). Individuals affected with NF1 harbor mutations in the NF1 tumor suppressor gene and develop neurofibromas and MPNSTs. The NF1 gene is expressed in Schwann cells and its expression is lost in schwannian neoplasms, suggesting a role in malignant development. Separately, there is evidence that p53 suppressor gene mutations are involved in MPNSTs. To determine the role of the NFI and p53 genes in the development of the malignant Triton tumor we examined 2 such tumors, 1 from a 3-year-old boy without clinical manifestations of NF1 and another from a 24-year-old man with NF1. Histological analysis of these tumors showed both neural and muscle differentiation with S-100 and desmin immunoreactivity, respectively. Reverse transcribed RNA polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) of NFI mRNA showed NFI expression in the sporadic tumor. Strong nuclear immunoreactivity for p53 was observed throughout the malignant population in both tumors. This was confirmed by loss of heterozygosity for p53 in the non-NF1 patient, suggesting that p53 is involved in both hereditary and sporadic Triton tumors. The finding of preserved NFI gene expression in the non-NF1-related Triton tumor suggests that different genetic events predispose to the development of this rare neoplasm in sporadic cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)984-988
Number of pages5
JournalHuman Pathology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1999


  • Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor
  • Neurofibromatosis 1
  • P53
  • Triton tumor


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