Rapid Communication| Volume 110, ISSUE 4, P585-591, October 1965

Embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma of the head and neck

Report on eighty-eight cases
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      Of eighty-eight patients with embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma of the head and neck, forty-eight were female and forty were male patients. Ages ranged from two weeks to seventy-seven years. Sixty-three were children (average age: 6.8 years) and twenty-five were adults (average age: 37.6 years). In nearly 60 per cent of patients the tumor occurred in the orbit, nasopharynx, or nose. The presenting complaint was usually that of a rapidly enlarging, asymptomatic mass. Half the patients had had evidence of the tumor for three months or less and only six had had it for more than a year on admission.
      Seventy-eight per cent of patients are known to have died as a result of the tumor, 49 per cent within the first year, 20 per cent in the second year, and 9 per cent within three to five years after admission. Eight patients (nine per cent) are known to be alive and free of disease twenty-one months to twenty years after admission, one patient (1 per cent) is alive with tumor metastasis, and ten (11 per cent) have been lost to follow-up study. Of the eight surviving patients assumed to be free of disease, one was treated by surgery alone, five by combined surgery and radiation, and two by radiation only.
      Histologically, the tumor often presents a varied pattern that in part may be readily confused with many quite dissimilar neoplasms, among which are reticulum cell sarcoma, neuroblastoma, myxoma, and amelanotic melanoma. An error in tissue diagnosis may be minimized by securing adequate and representative tissue for biopsy and by awareness of a chance encounter with such a lesion.
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