Treatment and Outcome of Patients Suffering From Perineal/Perianal Rhabdomyosarcoma: Results From the CWS Trials—Retrospective Clinical Study

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To analyze the clinical course, treatment, complications, outcome, and quality of life (QOL) in patients with perineal/perianal rhabdomyosarcoma (PRMS) treated within the CWS-86, −91, −96, and −2002P trials.


Although multiple international study trials exist for the treatment of rhabdomyosarcoma, only very limited information is given on treatment, outcome, and QOL in PRMS.


A total of 35 patients suffering from PRMS were treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Local therapy with radiation and/or surgery was performed, followed by adjuvant chemotherapy. Functional long-term follow-up was evaluated by a gastrointestinal/QOL survey.


Thirty-two patients were evaluated (exclusion n = 3). Eight patients had embryonal histology, and 24 patients had alveolar histology. The median age was 108 months (median follow-up: 5.8 years). The 5-year overall survival was 47% (95% confidence interval: 29–64). Sixteen IRS (Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Study) III and IV patients had locoregional lymph node involvement at diagnosis. Seven patients were treated with chemotherapy/surgery alone [5-year event-free survival (EFS): 85.7%]. Eleven patients received only radiochemotherapy (5-year EFS: 27.3%). Combined radiochemotherapy/surgery was used in 12 patients (5-year EFS: 63.6%). Two patients were treated only with chemotherapy and they died. Patients with embryonal histology had a significantly better 5-year EFS (87.5%) than patients with alveolar histology (39.1%; P = 0.013). Some patients reported symptoms of fecal incontinence. The median Wexner fecal incontinence score was 9 (possible range: 0–20), and the median QOL score was 90.5 (applicable range: 0–144).


The outcome of these patients remains unsatisfactory. Prognostic factors for a favorable outcome are tumor size of smaller than 5 cm, negative locoregional lymph nodes, age less than 10 years, low IRS group, and embryonal histology. Fecal incontinence seems to be a problem.

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