Treatment of adult rhabdomyosarcoma

Christian M. Ogilvie, Eileen A. Crawford, Rachel L. Slotcavage, Joseph J. King, Richard D. Lackman, Lee Hartner, Arthur P. Staddon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Objectives: Rhabdomyosarcoma is an exceedingly rare tumor in adults, and standard chemotherapy used for children is much less effective in adults. This study examines short-term outcomes using doxorubicin, ifosfamide, and vincristine for adult rhabdomyosarcoma. Methods: Pathology records were searched for adults (age, >18) with rhabdomyosarcoma treated at our musculoskeletal tumor center. Treatment involved surgical resection, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy with doxorubicin, ifosfamide, and vincristine. Eleven met inclusion criteria. Mean age was 49 (range: 19-72). Tumors sites included upper extremity (4 patients), lower extremity (6), and cervix (1). Subtypes were pleomorphic (7), alveolar (1), embryonal (1), and mixed alveolar/embryonal (2). Results: Of the 7 patients with nonmetastatic disease, 6 had no evidence of disease posttreatment, but 1 died of myelodysplastic syndrome after 51 months. Three patients who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy had 100% tumor necrosis. One patient with positive margins scheduled for adjuvant chemotherapy had local recurrence and metastasis within 2 weeks and died 5 months later. Of the 4 patients with metastatic disease on presentation, 1 had complete response, 2 had partial response with later progression and death at 8 and 24 months, and 1 had immediate progression and died at 12 months. Mean overall survival was 24 months with 6 of 11 (55%) alive at last follow-up. Mean disease-free survival was 17 months for all patients and 23 months for the 7 patients who had remission of all disease. Conclusions: When combined with surgery and radiation therapy, chemotherapy using doxorubicin, ifosfamide, and vincristine yielded 55% overall and 64% disease-free survival at 2 years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-131
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Oncology: Cancer Clinical Trials
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • Adult
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma
  • Surgery


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