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J Clin Oncol. 1999 Nov;17(11):3468-75.

Indications for radiotherapy and chemotherapy after complete resection in rhabdomyosarcoma: A report from the Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Studies I to III.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021, USA.



To evaluate the outcome of patients with rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) treated with complete surgical resection and multiagent chemotherapy, with or without local radiotherapy (RT).


Four hundred thirty-nine patients with completely resected (ie, group I) RMS were further treated with chemotherapy (vincristine and actinomycin D +/- cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, and cisplatin) on Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Studies (IRS) I to III between 1972 and 1991. Eighty-three patients (19%) also received local RT as a component of initial treatment.


Eighty-six patients relapsed (10-year failure-free survival [FFS] 79%, overall survival 89%). Six percent of failure sites were local, 6% were regional, and 7% were distant. Poor prognostic factors were tumor size greater than 5 cm, alveolar or undifferentiated histology, primary tumor sites other than genitourinary, and treatment on IRS-I or II. For patients with embryonal RMS who were treated with RT, there was a trend for improved FFS but no difference in overall survival. On IRS-I and II, patients with alveolar or undifferentiated sarcoma who received RT compared with those who did not receive RT had greater 10-year FFS rates (73% v 44%, respectively; P =.03) and overall survival rates (82% v 52%, respectively; (P =.02). Such patients who received RT on IRS III also benefited more than those who did not receive RT (10-year FFS, 95% v 69%; P =.01; overall survival, 95% v 86%; P =.23).


Patients with group I embryonal RMS have an excellent prognosis when treated with adjuvant multiagent chemotherapy without RT. Patients with alveolar RMS or undifferentiated sarcoma fare worse; however, FFS and overall survival are substantially improved when RT is added to multiagent chemotherapy (IRS-I and II). The best outcome occurred in IRS-III, when RT was used in conjunction with intensified chemotherapy.

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