Update on pediatric rhabdomyosarcoma: A report from the APSA Cancer Committee

On behalf of the American Pediatric Surgical Association Cancer Committee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Background/Purpose: Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common soft tissue sarcoma in children and young adults and requires multimodality treatment. The purpose of this review is to present an update on risk stratification as well as surgical and medical management strategies in pediatric rhabdomyosarcoma. Methods: A comprehensive review of the current literature on pediatric rhabdomyosarcoma, including the most recent Children's Oncology Group studies and several international collaboratives, was performed by the authors and key findings were summarized in the manuscript. Results: FOXO1 fusion status is a stronger prognostic factor than histology and is now used for risk stratification in treatment protocols. For assessment of regional nodal involvement, FDG-PET-CT shows poor sensitivity and specificity to detect histologically confirmed nodal metastasis. Thus, surgical assessment of regional lymph nodes is required for rhabdomyosarcoma of the extremities or trunk as well as paratesticular rhabdomyosarcoma in patients ≥ 10 years of age, although adherence to surgical guidelines remains poor. Hemiscrotectomy performed for scrotal violation in paratesticular rhabdomyosarcoma has not shown an improvement in event free survival and is not recommended. Conclusions: Surgical and medical treatment strategies for rhabdomyosarcoma in children continue to evolve. This review provides current evidence-based treatment standards with an emphasis on surgical care. Type of Study: Review. Level of Evidence: Level IV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1987-1995
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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