Embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma of the uterine corpus: a clinicopathological and molecular analysis of 21 cases highlighting a frequent association with DICER1 mutations

Mod Pathol. 2021 Sep;34(9):1750-1762. doi: 10.1038/s41379-021-00821-x. Epub 2021 May 20.


Herein we evaluated a series of 21 embryonal rhabdomyosarcomas of the uterine corpus (ucERMS), a rare neoplasm, to characterize their morphology, genomics, and behavior. Patients ranged from 27 to 73 (median 52) years and tumors from 4 to 15 (median 9) cm, with extrauterine disease noted in two. Follow-up (median 16 months) was available for 14/21 patients; nine were alive and well, four died of disease, and one died from other causes. Most tumors (16/21) showed predominantly classic morphology, comprised of alternating hyper- and hypocellular areas of primitive small cells and differentiating rhabdomyoblasts in a loose myxoid/edematous stroma. A cambium layer was noted in all; seven had heterologous elements (six with fetal-type cartilage) and eight displayed focal anaplasia. The remaining five neoplasms showed only a minor component (≤20%) of classic morphology, with anaplasia noted in four and tumor cell necrosis in three. The most frequent mutations detected were in DICER1 (14/21), TP53 (7/20), PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway (7/20), and KRAS/NRAS (5/20). Copy-number alterations were present in 10/19 tumors. Overall, 8/14 DICER1-associated ucERMS showed concurrent loss of function and hotspot mutations in DICER1, which is a feature more likely to be seen in tumors associated with DICER1 syndrome. Germline data were available for two patients, both DICER1 wild type (one with concurrent loss of function and hotspot alterations). DICER1-associated ucERMS were more likely to show a classic histological appearance including heterologous elements than DICER1-independent tumors. No differences in survival were noted between the two groups, but both patients with extrauterine disease at diagnosis and two with recurrences died from disease. As no patients had a known personal or family history of DICER1 syndrome, we favor most DICER1-associated ucERMS to be sporadic.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases / genetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma, Embryonal / genetics*
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma, Embryonal / pathology*
  • Ribonuclease III / genetics*
  • Uterine Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Uterine Neoplasms / pathology*


  • DICER1 protein, human
  • Ribonuclease III
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases