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Hum Pathol. 1994 Apr;25(4):349-56.

Rhabdomyosarcomas of the anterior mediastinum: report of four cases unassociated with germ cell, teratomatous, or thymic carcinomatous components.

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Department of Pathology, Mount Sinai Medical Center, Miami Beach, FL 33140.


Four cases are presented of primary anterior mediastinal tumors in young adults that were characterized by solid, infiltrative lesions showing histologic and immunohistochemical features of rhabdomyoblastic differentiation. The patients were three men and one woman between 19 and 27 years of age (mean age, 23 years). All patients presented with symptoms referable to their tumors, including cough, chest pain, dyspnea, and left-sided pleural effusion. Grossly and radiographically, the lesions were characterized by their solid, infiltrative appearance. Histologically, two cases corresponded to the solid variant of alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, one case was an embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma with a predominant spindle cell component, and the remaining case showed the features of a pleomorphic rhabdomyosarcoma. No glandular, epithelial, or other component could be identified in any of the tumors on extensive sampling. Immunohistochemical studies showed positive staining of the tumor cells with actin, desmin, and vimentin antibodies, with focal positivity for myoglobin in three cases and focal positive staining with S-100 protein in one case. Stains for low and high molecular weight keratin, carcinoembryonic antigen, alpha-fetoprotein, human chorionic gonadotropin, placental alkaline phosphatase, leukocyte-common antigen, and neuron-specific enolase were negative. All patients experienced rapid recurrence and metastases within the first 6 months after diagnosis. Three patients died within this period due to their tumors; the fourth patient has been lost to follow-up. Pure primary rhabdomyosarcomas of the anterior mediastinum are highly aggressive neoplasms that should be distinguished from germ cell, teratomatous, or carcinosarcomatous tumors with a focal rhabdomyoblastic component.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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