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Cancer Health Center

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Childhood Rhabdomyosarcoma Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Stage Information

Table 3. Soft Tissue Sarcoma Committee of the Children's Oncology Group: Surgical-pathologic Group System

IApproximately 13%Localized tumor, completely removed with microscopically clear margins and no regional lymph node involvement. Lymph node biopsy or sampling is encouraged if lymph nodes are clinically or radiographically suspicious.
IIApproximately 20%Localized tumor, completely removed with: (a) microscopic disease at the margin, (b) regional disease with involved, grossly removed regional lymph nodes without microresidual disease,or(c) regional disease with involved nodes, grossly removed but with microscopic residual and/or histologic involvement of the most distal node from the primary tumor.
IIIApproximately 48%Localized tumor, incompletely removed with gross, residual disease after: (a) biopsy only,or(b) gross major resection of the primary tumor (>50%).
IVApproximately 18%Distant metastases are present at diagnosis. This category includes: (a) radiographically identified evidence of tumor spread,and(b) positive tumor cells in cerebral spinal fluid, pleural, or peritoneal fluids, or implants in these regions.

After patients are categorized by Stage and Surgical-pathologic Group, a Risk Group is assigned. This takes into account Stage, Group, and histology. Patients are classified for protocol purposes as having a low risk, intermediate risk, or high risk of disease recurrence.[10,11] Treatment assignment is based on Risk Group, as shown in Table 4. To be designated as alveolar, the tumor must have greater than 50% alveolar elements; if the alveolar component is 50% or less, the tumor is considered embryonal.

Table 4. Soft Tissue Sarcoma Committee of the Children's Oncology Group: Rhabdomyosarcoma Risk Group Classification

Risk GroupHistologyStageGroup
Low riskEmbryonal1I, II, III
Embryonal2, 3I, II
Intermediate riskEmbryonal2, 3III
Alveolar1, 2, 3I, II, III
High riskEmbryonal or Alveolar4IV

Since 2006, patients with undifferentiated sarcomas are treated on the COG-STS protocol for nonrhabdomyosarcomatous soft tissue sarcoma. Refer to the PDQ summary on Childhood Soft Tissue Sarcoma for more information.


  1. Kayton ML, Delgado R, Busam K, et al.: Experience with 31 sentinel lymph node biopsies for sarcomas and carcinomas in pediatric patients. Cancer 112 (9): 2052-9, 2008.
  2. Völker T, Denecke T, Steffen I, et al.: Positron emission tomography for staging of pediatric sarcoma patients: results of a prospective multicenter trial. J Clin Oncol 25 (34): 5435-41, 2007.
  3. Tateishi U, Hosono A, Makimoto A, et al.: Comparative study of FDG PET/CT and conventional imaging in the staging of rhabdomyosarcoma. Ann Nucl Med 23 (2): 155-61, 2009.
  4. Federico SM, Spunt SL, Krasin MJ, et al.: Comparison of PET-CT and conventional imaging in staging pediatric rhabdomyosarcoma. Pediatr Blood Cancer 60 (7): 1128-34, 2013.
  5. Weiss AR, Lyden ER, Anderson JR, et al.: Histologic and clinical characteristics can guide staging evaluations for children and adolescents with rhabdomyosarcoma: a report from the Children's Oncology Group Soft Tissue Sarcoma Committee. J Clin Oncol 31 (26): 3226-32, 2013.
  6. Lawrence W Jr, Gehan EA, Hays DM, et al.: Prognostic significance of staging factors of the UICC staging system in childhood rhabdomyosarcoma: a report from the Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Study (IRS-II). J Clin Oncol 5 (1): 46-54, 1987.
  7. Lawrence W Jr, Anderson JR, Gehan EA, et al.: Pretreatment TNM staging of childhood rhabdomyosarcoma: a report of the Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Study Group. Children's Cancer Study Group. Pediatric Oncology Group. Cancer 80 (6): 1165-70, 1997.
  8. Crist WM, Garnsey L, Beltangady MS, et al.: Prognosis in children with rhabdomyosarcoma: a report of the intergroup rhabdomyosarcoma studies I and II. Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Committee. J Clin Oncol 8 (3): 443-52, 1990.
  9. Crist W, Gehan EA, Ragab AH, et al.: The Third Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Study. J Clin Oncol 13 (3): 610-30, 1995.
  10. Raney RB, Anderson JR, Barr FG, et al.: Rhabdomyosarcoma and undifferentiated sarcoma in the first two decades of life: a selective review of intergroup rhabdomyosarcoma study group experience and rationale for Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Study V. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol 23 (4): 215-20, 2001.
  11. Breneman JC, Lyden E, Pappo AS, et al.: Prognostic factors and clinical outcomes in children and adolescents with metastatic rhabdomyosarcoma--a report from the Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Study IV. J Clin Oncol 21 (1): 78-84, 2003.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: 8/, 015
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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