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Gene of the month: TFE 3
  1. Karen Pinto1,
  2. Runjan Chetty2
  1. 1 Pathology, Kuwait Cancer Control Center, Shuwaikh, Kuwait
  2. 2 Department of Histopathology, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, Brighton, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Runjan Chetty, Department of Histopathology, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, Brighton BN2 5BE, UK; runjan.chetty{at}


Transcription factor enhancer 3 (TFE3), on the short arm of chromosome Xp11.23 and its protein, belongs to the microphthalmia transcription family (MiTF) of transcription factors. It shares close homology with another member of the family, MiTF which is involved in melanocyte development. When a cell is stressed and/or starved, TFE3 protein translocates into the nucleus. TFE3 gene fusions with multiple different partner genes occur in several tumours with resultant nuclear expression of TFE3 protein. The main tumours associated with TFE3 gene fusions are: renal cell carcinoma, alveolar soft part sarcoma, a subset of epithelioid haemangioendotheliomas (EHE), some perivascular epithelioid cell tumours and rare examples of ossifying fibromyxoid tumour and malignant chondroid syringoma. TFE3 immunohistochemistry is of use in routine diagnostic practice with the aforementioned tumours harbouring TFE3 fusions leading to nuclear staining. In addition, there are tumours lacking TFE3 fusions but also display TFE3 nuclear immunolabeling, and these include: granular cell tumour, solid pseudopapillary neoplasm of the pancreas and ovarian sclerosing stromal tumour.

  • genes, neoplasm
  • genetics
  • oncogenes
  • sarcoma

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  • Handling editor Dhirendra Govender.

  • Twitter @runjanchetty

  • Contributors Both authors contributed to the concept, collation of data, design and writing of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.