Childhood rhabdomyosarcoma

Semin Pediatr Surg. 2006 Feb;15(1):57-62. doi: 10.1053/j.sempedsurg.2005.11.009.


A malignant tumor of striated muscle origin, Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is a childhood tumor that has benefited from nearly 30 years of multimodality therapy culminating in a greater than 70% overall current 5-year survival. Prognosis for RMS is dependent on anatomic primary tumor site, age, completeness of resection, presence and number of metastatic sites, histology, and biology of the tumor cells. Multimodality treatment is based on risk stratification according to pretreatment stage, postoperative group, histology, and site. Therefore, pretreatment staging is vital for assessment and is dependent on primary tumor site, size, regional lymph node status, and presence of metastases. Unique to RMS is the concept of postoperative clinical grouping that assesses the completeness of disease resection and takes into account lymph node evaluation both at the regional and metastatic basins. At all sites, if operative resection of all disease is accomplished, including microscopic disease, survival is improved. Therefore, the surgeon plays a vital role in determining risk stratification for treatment and local control of the primary tumor for RMS. The current state of the art treatment is based on treatment protocols developed by the Soft Tissue Sarcoma Committee of the Children's Oncology Group.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma / diagnosis*
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma / pathology
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma / therapy*