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A molecular map of mesenchymal tumors

Stephen R Henderson1*, David Guiliano12, Nadege Presneau1, Sean McLean1, Richard Frow13, Sonja Vujovic1, John Anderson4, Neil Sebire5, Jeremy Whelan6, Nick Athanasou7, Adrienne M Flanagan3 and Chris Boshoff1

Author Affiliations

1 Cancer Research UK, Viral Oncology Group, Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research, Gower Street, University College London, London, WC1E 6BT, UK

2 Division of Cell and Molecular Biology, Biochemistry Building, Faculty of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus, London, SW7 2AZ, UK

3 Institute of Orthopaedics and Department of Pathology, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore, Middlesex, HA7 4LP, UK

4 Unit of Molecular Haematology and Cancer Biology, Institute of Child Health and Great Ormond Street Hospital, Guildford Street, London, WC1N 1EH, UK

5 Department of Pathology, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, London, WC1N 3JH, UK

6 London Bone and Soft Tissue Tumour Service, University College London Hospitals, London, UK

7 Department of Pathology, Nuffield Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Headington, Oxford, OX3 7LD, UK

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Genome Biology 2005, 6:R76  doi:10.1186/gb-2005-6-9-r76

Published: 26 August 2005



Bone and soft tissue tumors represent a diverse group of neoplasms thought to derive from cells of the mesenchyme or neural crest. Histological diagnosis is challenging due to the poor or heterogenous differentiation of many tumors, resulting in uncertainty over prognosis and appropriate therapy.


We have undertaken a broad and comprehensive study of the gene expression profile of 96 tumors with representatives of all mesenchymal tissues, including several problem diagnostic groups. Using machine learning methods adapted to this problem we identify molecular fingerprints for most tumors, which are pathognomonic (decisive) and biologically revealing.


We demonstrate the utility of gene expression profiles and machine learning for a complex clinical problem, and identify putative origins for certain mesenchymal tumors.