Rhabdomyosarcomas of the genitourinary tract are uncommon tumours occurring in pelvic organs. It is a disease nearly exclusive to the paediatric population.
For a general discussion of this type of tumour, please refer to the article on rhabdomyosarcomas.
The peak incidence of tumours is between 3-6 years of age, with a slight male predominance of 2-3:1 1.
Prostatic origin is the most common in males. The bladder is the most frequent site which affects both sexes.
The vagina, cervix and uterus may all be involved in females. The vagina is the most prevalent in the female genital tract 2.
Paratesticular tumours are the only genitourinary tract rhabdomyosarcomas that tend to occur in older children, typically adolescents.
A pelvic or scrotal mass is the most common complaint, with or without pain. The mass is typically large at presentation. Urinary symptoms may be a feature, such as haematuria and dysuria 1.
The symptoms depend, to an extent, on which organ is the site for the tumour.
As with rhabdomyosarcomas at other sites, there are 4 major subtypes; embryonal, botryoid variant of embryonal type, alveolar and undifferentiated.
The embryonal cell type is most common, accounting for more than half of all histological subtypes.
The botryoid variant is the most frequent to affect the bladder.
Usually the first imaging investigation given its ubiquitous use in the paediatric population. A heterogeneous mass, with variable solid and cystic elements, is often encountered. Doppler interrogation may demonstrate internal vascular flow.
A heterogeneous mass as with ultrasound. Its relationship to other pelvic organs is delineated, in particular, to review for local invasion.
Used to assess for locoregional lymphadenopathy and distant metastatic disease in the lungs, liver and bones.
In the pelvis may add further to CT in delineated the tumour's relationship to adjacent organs and identifying lymph node disease.
Primary surgery with both chemotherapy and radiotherapy play a role in management.
- 1. Lane F. Donnelly. Fundamentals of Pediatric Imaging, 2e (2016). ISBN: 9780323444996
- 2. Petrovich Z, Baert LV, Brady LW, De Ridder DJ, Goethuys H, Nijman R, Oyen R, Ozer H, Roskams T, Stein JP, Stockx L, Van Oosterom A, Van Poppel HP, Van Uytsel L. Carcinoma of the kidney, testis, and rare urologic malignancies. American journal of clinical oncology. 23 (5): 431-7. Pubmed