Brachytherapy in Children With Rhabdomyosarcomas of the Nasolabial Fold

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Rhabdomyosarcomas (RMS) of the nasolabial fold can be difficult to manage surgically due to functional and cosmetic limitations. Therefore, brachytherapy (BT) has been proposed to improve local control while limiting the volume of irradiation as well as the extent of the surgical excision.

Materials and methods.

Sixteen pediatric cases with RMS of the nasolabial fold treated from 1971 to 2005 were retrospectively reviewed.


Median follow-up was 4.4 years (1.7–33). Half of the patients were male and their age at diagnosis ranged from 4 months to 13.5 years. Histological subtypes included 10 embryonal and 6 alveolar RMS. Initial treatment consisted of induction multi-agent chemotherapy in all cases. In 12 patients, BT was combined with local excision (4 complete resections, 1 with macroscopic residual disease, and 7 with microscopic disease). Low dose-rate brachytherapy was performed in all cases according to the Paris system, using plastic catheters implanted per-operatively. The doses delivered ranged from 50 to 70 Gy, depending on chemotherapy response, and surgical margin status. 10 patients relapsed: 4 local, 6 regional, and 2 metastatic failures were reported. The median time to relapse was 6.5 months. At the time of analysis eight patients were alive and four had died. Four cases, under palliative care at last check-up, were lost to follow-up.


BT provided an acceptable local control rate, but the poor regional control of these cases may suggest a need for more aggressive management of cervical regional lymph node regions in RMS of the nasolabial fold.

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