Embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma arising from the uterine corpus in a postmenopausal female: a surgical case challenging the genuine diagnosis on a cytology specimen

Diagn Pathol. 2016 Jan 12:11:3. doi: 10.1186/s13000-016-0451-0.


A 55-year-old postmenopausal female presented with genital bleeding and lower abdominal mass. An abdominal MRI revealed a heterogeneously enhanced, 15 × 10 cm mass, completely filling the lumen of the enlarged uterus. The cytologic analysis of the mass showed tumor cells in small clusters and as individual cells showing hyperchromatic round to oval nuclei, and pleomorphic and occasionally unipolar "tadpole"-shaped cytoplasm, in a background of severe necrosis and many degenerated squamous cells. We first interpreted it merely as atypical cells, possibly originated from sarcoma. A total abdominal hysterectomy and salpingo-oophorectomy were performed, and gross examination showed an exophytic polypoid mass with a whitish to white-grayish, necrotic appearance, protruding from the endometrial mucosa. Microscopically, the tumor was composed of a diffuse proliferation of highly atypical spindle-shaped cells, admixed with many characteristic rhabdomyoblasts having abundant densely eosinophilic cytoplasm with sometimes distinct cross-striations, coexisted with cellular primitive small blue round to oval cells foci. However, neither carcinoma nor additional heterologous sarcoma components were completely seen within our thorough investigation. Therefore, we finally made a diagnosis of embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma arising from the uterine corpus. We should be aware that owing to its characteristic features, cytopathologists might be able to determine a genuine diagnosis, based on multiple and adequate cytology samplings.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Biopsy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Middle Aged
  • Postmenopause*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma, Embryonal / chemistry
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma, Embryonal / pathology*
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma, Embryonal / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tumor Burden
  • Uterine Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Uterine Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Uterine Neoplasms / surgery


  • Biomarkers, Tumor