Local therapy to distant metastatic sites in stage IV rhabdomyosarcoma

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To determine the impact of surgery and/or radiation therapy on distant metastatic sites (DMS) in children with stage IV rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS).


A retrospective chart review was conducted on all patients with stage IV RMS at Texas Children's Hospital from 1992 to 2012. Data analyzed included age, gender, primary site, histologic subtype, number and sites of metastases, treatment including local therapy to DMS, and Oberlin score.


The 5-year progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) rates were 20% and 25%. The 5-year PFS in patients receiving local therapy to all DMS (n = 16) and to less than all DMS (n = 19) was 31.3% versus 0% (P = 0.002), whereas the 5-year OS was 37.3% versus 0% (P < 0.001), respectively. The 5-year PFS in patients with isolated lung metastasis versus other types of metastasis was 29% versus 7% (P = n.s.), whereas the 5-year OS was 43% versus 10% (P = 0.01). The 5-year pulmonary local control was improved by the use of whole lung irradiation (WLI; 56% vs. 10%, P = 0.03).


Local treatment to all metastatic sites was associated with improved PFS and OS at 5 years. The use of WLI improved pulmonary control in patients with lung metastasis. We recommend an aggressive approach including local therapy to DMS in children with stage IV RMS.

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