Management and outcomes of chest wall rhabdomyosarcoma: A report from the Children's Oncology Group Soft Tissue Sarcoma Committee

Timothy B. Lautz*, Wei Xue, Leo Y. Luo, Douglas Fair, Amira Qumseya, Zhengya Gao, Roshni Dasgupta, Dave Rodeberg, Rajkumar Venkatramani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) of the chest wall presents unique management challenges and local control considerations. The benefit of complete excision is uncertain and must be weighed against potential surgical morbidity. Our aim was to assess factors, including local control modality, associated with clinical outcomes in children with chest wall RMS. Methods: Forty-four children with RMS of the chest wall from low-, intermediate-, and high-risk Children's Oncology Group studies were reviewed. Predictors of local failure-free survival (FFS), event-free survival (EFS), and overall survival (OS) were assessed, including clinical characteristics and staging, primary tumor anatomic locations, and local control modalities. Survival was assessed by Kaplan–Meier analysis and the log-rank test. Results: Tumors were localized in 25 (57%) and metastatic in 19 (43%), and they involved the intercostal region (52%) or superficial muscle alone (36%). Clinical group was I (18%), II (14%), III (25%), and IV (43%), and ultimately 19 (43%) patients had surgical resection (upfront or delayed), including 10 R0 resections. Five-year local FFS, EFS, and OS were 72.1%, 49.3%, and 58.5%, respectively. Univariate factors associated with local FFS included age, International Rhabdomyosarcoma Study (IRS) group, extent of surgical excision, tumor size, superficial tumor location, and presence of regional or metastatic disease. Other than tumor size, the same factors were associated with EFS and OS. Conclusions: Chest wall RMS has variable presentation and outcome. Local control is a significant contributor to EFS and OS. Complete surgical excision, whether upfront or after induction chemotherapy, is usually only possible for smaller tumors confined to the superficial musculature but is associated with improved outcomes. While overall outcomes remain poor for patients with initially metastatic tumors, regardless of local control modality, complete excision may be beneficial for patients with localized tumors if it can be achieved without excess morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPediatric Blood and Cancer
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • pediatric oncology
  • radiation oncology
  • rhabdomyosarcoma
  • surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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