Head and Neck Pathology

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 321–326 | Cite as

Head and Neck Rhabdomyosarcoma: Clinical and Pathologic Characterization of Seven Cases

  • Eleanor ChenEmail author
  • Robert Ricciotti
  • Neal Futran
  • Dolphine OdaEmail author
Original Paper


Head and neck rhabdomyosarcoma occurs frequently in children and adolescents, and has been well studied in that population. In contrast, it is rare in adults and is not as well characterized clinically and pathologically. Seven cases of adult rhabdomyosarcoma occurring in head and neck were retrieved from the archives of Department of Pathology and Division of Oral Pathology at University of Washington. Radiologic findings and clinical history, as well as pathologic findings from hematoxylin and eosin slides and immunohistochemistry for myogenic markers were reviewed. A total of seven cases of rhabdomyosarcoma (two embryonal, three alveolar and two pleomorphic subtype) were reviewed. Patient ages ranged from 18 to 57 years (median 21 years). Classic and unique histologic features for each subtype, including post-treatment morphologic changes, were identified. Clinical follow-up information was available for 4 patients. 3 of 4 patients experienced recurrence, including two with distant metastasis. One patient died of disease progression 41 months after presentation. Head and neck rhabdomyosarcoma in adults can manifest both classic and unique histologic features for each subtype. In addition, recurrence and distant metastasis were observed, suggesting aggressive clinical behavior regardless of subtype.


Rhabdomyosarcoma Head and neck Alveolar Embryonal Pleomorphic 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

No conflict of interest to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PathologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck SurgeryUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Oral & Maxillofacial SurgeryUniversity of Washington School of DentistrySeattleUSA

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