Pleomorphic rhabdomyosarcoma (PRMS) is a rare variant of rhabdomyosarcoma that occurs mostly in adults. A few cytogenetic studies of PRMS have been reported, but no consistent specific chromosome aberrations were detected. We herein report a cytogenetic study of three cases of pleomorphic rhabdomyosarcoma using a conventional G-banded karyotyping analysis. The three cases appeared to exhibit an extremely complex karyotype with numeric and structural rearrangements. Although the three cases displayed several common aberrations, including -2, -4, -9, -13, -14, -15, -19, -21, add(X)(p11), add(1)(q11), add(7)(p11), and add(13)(p11), no recurrent characteristic chromosomal aberrations could be detected. In addition, among these cases and seven other cases of previously reported PRMS, the most frequent chromosomal alterations were -2, -13, -14, -15, -16, and -19. No obviously consistent structural alterations can be found in these 10 PRMS cases, however, thereby suggesting that it is difficult to confirm whether these complex karyotypes correlated with the diagnosis or clinical outcome in PRMS. In this study, we detected MyoD1 and myogenin gene transcripts at the mRNA level in four cases of PRMS together with other soft-tissue sarcomas, including seven cases of malignant fibrous hitiocytoma, five cases of liposacroma, and three cases of leiomyosacroma using a real-time quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis. High-level expressions of MyoD1 and myogenin gene transcripts were determined in all cases of PRMS. In contrast, the other non-PRMS sarcomas showed either no expression or extremely weak expressions for both genes. Our findings suggest that the detections of MyoD1 and myogenin transcripts using real-time quantitative RT-PCR, combined with immunohistochemical stains, are extremely sensitive and useful for the diagnosis of PRMS.