Medline: 8625211

Cancer 76(6): 1073-1085, 1995.

Classification of rhabdomyosarcomas and related sarcomas: pathologic aspects and proposal for a new classification - an Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Study.

Newton WA, Gehan EA, Webber BL, et al.


There is a need to develop a single prognostically significant classification of rhabdomyosarcomas (RMS) and other related tumors of children, adolescents, and young adults which would be a current guide for their diagnosis, allow valid comparison of outcomes between protocols carried out anywhere in the world, and should enhance recognition of prognostic subsets.

Sixteen pathologists from eight pathology groups, representing six countries and several cooperative groups, classified by four histopathologic classification schemes 800 representative tumors of the 999 eligible cases treated on Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Study II. Each tumor was classified according to each of the four systems by each of the pathologists. In addition, two independent subsamples of 200 of the 800 patients were reviewed according to the new system, so that 343 distinct patients were reviewed once, and 57 of these twice.

A study of the survival rates of all subtypes in the sample of 800 patients led to the formation of a new system. This was tested on two independent subsets of 200 of the original cases and found to be reproducible and predictive of outcome by univariate analysis. A multivariate analysis of the 343 patients classified according to the new system indicated that a survival model including pathologic classification and known prognostic factors of primary site, clinical group, and tumor size was significantly better at predicting survival than a model with only the known prognostic factors.

This new classification, termed International Classification of Rhabdomyosarcoma (ICR) by the authors, was reproducible and predictive of outcome among patients with differing histologies treated uniformly on the Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma II protocols. We believe it should be utilized by all pathologists and cooperative groups to classify rhabdomyosarcomas in order to provide comparability among and within multi-institutional studies.

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Dr. G. Quade