, Volume 1, Issue 6, pp 550-561

Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Study: Update for Pathologists

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Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common soft tissue sarcoma of childhood, and 75% of such cases in the United States are reviewed at the Pathology Center for the Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Study Group (IRSG). The first four generations of IRSG therapeutic trials (IRS I–IV) and supportive pathologic studies have generated a new International Classification of Rhabdomyosarcoma (ICR) that offers new morphologic concepts to the practicing pathologist. The objective of this report is to clearly define emerging histopathologic categories of RMS as defined by the ICR, and to emphasize correlative immunohistochemical or molecular studies. Emerging ICR variants of RMS place the patient in widely divergent prognostic categories (superior, botryoid or spindle cell variants; poor, solid alveolar or diffusely anaplastic variants). The cardinal histopathologic features of the ICR combined with results of studies of fusion genes seen with t(1;13) and t(2;13) will help delineate therapeutic subgroups of RMS for the fifth generation (IRS V) of IRSG studies. Consequently, it is imperative for the practicing pathologist to be familiar with the practical workup and diagnosis of RMS in childhood.