Spindle cell variants of embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma in the paratesticular region: A report of the intergroup rhabdomyosarcoma study

I. Leuschner, W. A. Newton, D. Schmidt, N. Sachs, L. Asmar, A. Hamoudi, D. Harms, H. M. Maurer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

158 Scopus citations


We reviewed 173 cases of paratesticular rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) of Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Studies (IRS)-I, -II, and -III for evaluation of possible histological factors that might account for the good prognosis of these patients. Almost all cases (161 of 173 cases, 93.1%) occurring in this site were of embryonal histology. A spindle-cell subtype of embryonal RMS was identified that presented a storiform growth pattern with abundant collagen between the tumor cells in most cases. Other tumors of this subtype showed an arrangement of tumor cells in bundles with a low to moderate amount of collagen, resembling a leiomyosarcoma. The other embryonal RMS in this site had the classical embryonal cytology. The spindle-cell subtype was highly differentiated by immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy. Lymph node metastasis was found in seven of 43 patients (16.3%) with a RMS of spindle- cell subtype, compared with 40 of 112 patients (35.7%) with RMS of non- spindle-cell type. Clinical data from patients with spindle-cell subtypes of the paratesticular lesions revealed that they almost always had an association with clinical groups of limited disease (32 patients, 74.4%, with Group I; 10 patients, 23.3%, with Group II disease) and a significantly better prognosis (95.5% survival at 5 years) when compared with patients with the classic embryonal variant of RMS (80% survival at 5 years, p < 0.035). The incidence and anatomic distribution of this spindle cell subtype of embryonal RMS was estimated on 800 randomly selected patients from IRS-II. It was found in the head and neck, extremities, orbit, and some other sites, but 30.6% were located in the paratesticular area. Patients with spindle cell RMS of nonparatesticular sites usually had more extensive disease compared with patients having paratesticular lesions, two thirds of the cases had gross residual tumor after surgery or metastatic tumor at diagnosis. We conclude that spindle-cell RMS is a subtype of embryonal RMS with a very favorable prognosis. The site factor of the paratesticular localization may allow earlier diagnosis of the spindle-cell lesions compared with other sites. Other unknown factors may also play a role.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-230
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgical Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Childhood
  • Elec tron microscopy
  • Histology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Study
  • Paratesticular
  • Prognosis
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Surgery
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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