Submit Your Article CMED MEACR meeting
Home Print this page Email this page Users Online: 454
Home About us Editorial board Search Ahead of print Current issue Archives Submit article Instructions Subscribe Contacts Login 

 Table of Contents  
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 404-407

Retroperitoneal pleomorphic rhabdomyosarcoma metastasizing to inguinal lymph node

Department of Pathology, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India

Date of Web Publication13-May-2015

Correspondence Address:
Shagufta Qadri
Department of Pathology, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh - 202 002, Uttar Pradesh
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2278-0513.154534

Rights and Permissions

Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is a highly aggressive, malignant tumor of skeletal muscle cell, associated with an early and a wide spread metastasis. Although a commonly occurring soft tissue sarcoma in the pediatric population, it is seldom encountered in adults. Outcome for adult RMS is poorly documented due to its rarity. We report a case of pleomorphic RMS (PRMS) in a 50 years male presenting with an intra-abdominal mass along with a swelling in the right inguinal region measuring 4 cm Χ 3 cm. Computed tomography revealed an ill-defined intra-abdominal mass arising from the peritoneum. Abdominal mass was resected along with the dissection of inguinal lymph node. Histopathological examination of these masses coupled with the immunohistochemistry, confirmed the diagnosis of PRMS metastasizing into inguinal lymph node. Despite of adjuvant radiotherapy and chemotherapy, the patient couldn't survive >3 months and died of widespread lung metastasis.

Keywords: Metastasis, pleomorphic sarcomas, retro-peritoneum, rhabdomyosarcoma

How to cite this article:
Qadri S, Alam K, Alam F. Retroperitoneal pleomorphic rhabdomyosarcoma metastasizing to inguinal lymph node. Clin Cancer Investig J 2015;4:404-7

How to cite this URL:
Qadri S, Alam K, Alam F. Retroperitoneal pleomorphic rhabdomyosarcoma metastasizing to inguinal lymph node. Clin Cancer Investig J [serial online] 2015 [cited 2021 May 12];4:404-7. Available from:

  Introduction Top

Soft tissue sarcomas makes up <1% of all adult malignancies, of which rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) accounts for 3% of all soft tissue sarcomas. [1] Stout was first to introduce pleomorphic RMS (PRMS) into the medical literature in 1946, [2] as "classical" RMS. Due to the infrequency with which RMSs are encountered, only tenuous cases of PRMS has been reported in English literature till date.

We hereby report a rare case of PRMS of retro-peritoneum metastasizing to inguinal lymph node, with a comprehensive literature review. Succinctly, describing the tumor and its management, with an aim to provide a cumulative contribution to the medical literature.

  Case report Top

A 50-years-old male presented with an intra-abdominal mass and swelling in the right inguinal region. He also complained of dragging sensation and constipation. On per-abdominal examination, a mass was felt in right lumbar region. Abdominal Computed tomography revealed an ill-defined intra-abdominal mass filling right retroperitoneal space [Figure 1]. On local examination of the inguinal region, a large globular swelling of about 4 cm × 3 cm was felt. It was firm in consistency, which neither fixed to the underlying tissue nor the overlying skin. Abdominal mass was resected by open laparotomy, followed by inguinal lymph node dissection. Both the specimens were sent for histopathological examination. Grossly the abdominal mass was a huge, irregular growth measuring 18 cm × 12 cm × 10 cm, firm to soft in consistency with glistening, gelatinous areas. On cut section, it showed gray-white mass with some hemorrhagic and necrotic areas. The dissected lymph node was firm in consistency with central necrosis on cut section [Figure 2]. Microscopic examination revealed the tumor composed of highly pleomorphic, spindle-shaped cells arranged in a fascicular pattern [Figure 3]. The individual cells were showing high N: C ratio, variable amount of the fibrillary cytoplasm, many bizarre polygonal rhabdomyoblasts with prominent nucleoli and abundant eosinophilic cytoplasm [Figure 4]. High mitotic count and necrosis were also noticed. On immunohistochemistry, the tumor cells showed strong cytoplasmic desmin positivity [Figure 5] and focal nuclear positivity for myogenin [Figure 6]. Histomorphologic findings complemented with immunohistochemistry, prompted to the diagnosis of PRMS metastasizing into inguinal lymph node. Although the surgery was accompanied with adjuvant radiotherapy and chemotherapy, the patient couldn't survive >3 months and died of widespread lung metastasis.
Figure 1: Abdominal computed tomography showing an ill-defined intra-abdominal mass filling right retroperitoneal space

Click here to view
Figure 2: Resected lymph node showing central necrosis on cut section

Click here to view
Figure 3: Section showing the tumor composed of highly pleomorphic, spindle-shaped cells arranged in a fascicular pattern (H and E, ×100)

Click here to view
Figure 4: Polygonal rhabdomyoblasts with prominent nucleoli and the abundant eosinophilic fibrillary cytoplasm (H and E, ×400)

Click here to view
Figure 5: Tumor cells showing strong cytoplasmic desmin (H and E, ×100)

Click here to view
Figure 6: Tumor cells showing focal nuclear positivity for myogenin (H and E, ×100)

Click here to view

  Discussion Top

Rhabdomyosarcoma is a highly malignant mesenchymal tumor thought to originate from immature striated muscle. It is characterized by the presence of cells having an identifiable striated muscular differentiation with rhabdomyoblasts. [2] In a study performed by Furlong et al., PRMS is mentioned as a rare variant of RMS that almost always occurs in adults, with mean age of 49 years and has a very poor prognosis, [2] our case also corresponded to these notable finding. The tumor is often large (>10 cm), and mostly fleshy, well-circumscribed, intramuscular masses with focal hemorrhage and extensive necrosis. It is noticed that, in general tumors growing into the body cavities, such as those involving naso-pharynx, and urinary bladder, are fairly well circumscribed, multi-nodular, or distinctly polypoid with a glistening, gelatinous, gray-white surface that on cross-section often shows patchy areas of hemorrhage or cyst formation. However, the deep-seated tumors arising in the musculature are not well-defined and frequently infiltrate into the surrounding tissues. PRMS can be distinguished from embryonal and alveolar RMS on the basis of histomorphology. Normally, on microscopic examination the tumor cells are seen to be arranged in sheets and lobules. Cells are pleomorphic, with round to elongated nuclei and abundant eosinophilic cytoplasm. Areas of necrosis are common phenomena. The diagnosis of RMS can be difficult with conventional histological techniques, and it could easily be confused with undifferentiated high-grade pleomorphic sarcoma (malignant fibrous histiocytoma). [3] Immunohistochemical analysis should, therefore, address specific skeletal muscle markers and nonspecific myoid markers for achieving the diagnosis of PRMS. There may be a spectrum of differentiation in PRMS, substantiated by variable myoregulatory protein expression, which goes uncharted if relied purely upon morphologic appearance. PRMS should be differentiated from other pleomorphic sarcoma subtypes including differentiated liposarcomas, malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors, pleomorphic leiomyosarcoma and metastasis from metaplastic carcinoma. [4] The presence of pleomorphic polygonal rhabdomyoblasts on routine hematoxylin and eosin stain coupled with positive immunohistochemical staining with anti-myoglobin antibody and anti-sarcomeric actin antibody, characteristic of striated muscle are very helpful in the diagnosing RMSs. [5] Several studies have reported a high sensitivity and specificity for MyoD1 and/or myogenin in recognizing PRMS and its distinction from other adult pleomorphic soft tissue sarcomas. [6] We confirmed the histomorphologic findings in our case by the positive immunoreactivity to desmin and myogenin antibodies, which was also implemented by Ceylan et al. [7] in diagnosing a case of PRMS involving the urinary bladder. However, Tallini et al. reported sensitivities of MyoD1 and myogenin estimated to be only 53% and 56%, respectively, in cases of PRMS. [8] According to intergroup RMS study classification, patients with metastases at diagnosis are classified as stage IV. Major metastatic sites include the lung, lymph nodes, and bone marrow, followed by the heart, brain, meninges, pancreas, liver, and kidney. The lungs are involved in at least two-thirds of patients with metastasis and comprises of 14% case at the time of initial diagnosis, [9] even the patient presented in this report died of widespread lung metastasis, in spite of receiving adjuvant chemo and radiotherapy. The incidence of lymph node metastasis largely depends on the location of the tumor. Although in our case the nodal metastasis is from retroperitoneal RMS, it is more often associated with RMSs of the prostate, para-testicular region, and extremities than with those of the orbit and head and neck. [10] As the disease is preponderant in pediatric and adolescents population, there is a paucity of literature inscribing its management in adults. The optimal treatment of this malignancy is not yet determined, but multimodality approaches combining surgical excision, followed by chemotherapy with or without radiotherapy is the most recommended mode of managing PRMS. Ogilvie et al. in their study found that combining surgery and radiation therapy with chemotherapy using doxorubicin, ifosfamide, and vincristine yielded 55% overall and 64% disease-free survival at 2 years. [11],[12]

  Conclusion Top

  • Outcome of RMS in adults appears to be worse than those occurring in children
  • Diagnosis of PRMS is achieved by combining histomorphological, immunohistochemical and ultra-structural findings that identifies the skeletal muscle phenotype
  • The multipronged treatment approach is combining surgical resection, radiation and systemic chemotherapy, recommended for managing PRMS, still needs further evaluation.

  References Top

Ulutin C, Bakkal BH, Kuzhan O. A cohort Study of Adult Rhabdomyosarcoma: A single institution experience. World J Med Sci 2008;3:54-9.  Back to cited text no. 1
Furlong MA, Mentzel T, Fanburg-Smith JC. Pleomorphic rhabdomyosarcoma in adults: A clinicopathologic study of 38 cases with emphasis on morphologic variants and recent skeletal muscle-specific markers. Mod Pathol 2001;14:595-603.  Back to cited text no. 2
Ahmed HU, Arya M, Muneer A, Mushtaq I, Sebire NJ. Testicular and paratesticular tumours in the prepubertal population. Lancet Oncol 2010;11:476-83.  Back to cited text no. 3
Khoubehi B, Mishra V, Ali M, Motiwala H, Karim O. Adult paratesticular tumours. BJU Int 2002;90:707-15.  Back to cited text no. 4
Nielsen TO. Microarray analysis of sarcomas. Adv Anat Pathol 2006;13:166-73.  Back to cited text no. 5
Nakayama R, Nemoto T, Takahashi H, Ohta T, Kawai A, Seki K, et al. Gene expression analysis of soft tissue sarcomas: Characterization and reclassification of malignant fibrous histiocytoma. Mod Pathol 2007;20:749-59.  Back to cited text no. 6
Ceylan C, Serel TA, Albayrak A, Doluoglu OG. Pleomorphic rhabdomyosarcoma of the urinary bladder? Mitating a pelvic mass: A case report. Internet J Urol 2013;11. Available from:  Back to cited text no. 7
Tallini G, Parham DM, Dias P, Cordon-Cardo C, Houghton PJ, Rosai J. Myogenic regulatory protein expression in adult soft tissue sarcomas. A sensitive and specific marker of skeletal muscle differentiation. Am J Pathol 1994;144:693-701.  Back to cited text no. 8
Boulma R, Gargouri MM, Sallemi A, Chlif M, Fitouri Z, Kallel Y, et al. Paratesticular pleomorphic rhabdomyosarcoma: A report of two cases. Case Rep Urol 2013;2013:807979.  Back to cited text no. 9
Williams BA, Williams KM, Doyle J, Stephens D, Greenberg M, Malkin D, et al. Metastatic rhabdomyosarcoma: A retrospective review of patients treated at the hospital for sick children between 1989 and 1999. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol 2004;26:243-7.  Back to cited text no. 10
Wharam MD, Meza J, Anderson J, Breneman JC, Donaldson SS, Fitzgerald TJ, et al. Failure pattern and factors predictive of local failure in rhabdomyosarcoma: A report of group III patients on the third Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Study. J Clin Oncol 2004;22:1902-8.  Back to cited text no. 11
Ogilvie CM, Crawford EA, Slotcavage RL, King JJ, Lackman RD, Hartner L, et al. Treatment of adult rhabdomyosarcoma. Am J Clin Oncol 2010;33:128-31.  Back to cited text no. 12


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5], [Figure 6]


Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
Access Statistics
Email Alert *
Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)

  In this article
Case report
Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded19    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal