Medline: 9164192

The abstract Journal of Clinical Oncology 15(5): 1831-1836, 1997. is available online.

The fulltext Journal of Clinical Oncology 15(5): 1831-1836, 1997. may be available online for subscribers.

Common and variant gene fusions predict distinct clinical phenotypes in rhabdomyosarcoma.

Kelly KM, Womer RB, Sorenson PH, et al.


We evaluated the clinical features of the common PAX3-FKHR and variant PAX7-FKHR gene fusions observed in rhabdomyosarcoma.

Patients and Methods:
Reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assays were used to detect the gene fusions in 34 cases of rhabdomyosarcoma. Clinical data were obtained retrospectively and compared with the molecular results.

The PAX3-FKHR and PAX7-FKHR gene fusions were present in tumors from 18 and 16 patients, respectively. The group with a PAX7-FKHR fusion was younger (P = .01) and presented more often with an extremity lesion (82% v 22%; P = .001). PAX7-FKHR tumors were more often localized than PAX3-FKHR tumors (P = .03). In patients with metastatic disease at diagnosis, the patterns were different: PAX7-FKHR patients had metastatic disease that involved only bone (n = 2) and distant nodes (n = 2), while the PAX3-FKHR group had multiple sites involved, including bone (n = 7), marrow (n = 7), lungs (n = 3), distant nodes (n = 2), skin (n = 1), and brain (n = 1). No significant difference in relapse rate was observed. A trend toward improved overall survival in the PAX7-FKHR group was noted (P = .09). Event-free survival for this PAX7-FKHR group was significantly longer (P = .04).

Our results suggest that the common PAX3-FKHR and the variant PAX7-FKHR fusions are associated with distinct clinical phenotypes. Identification of fusion gene status may be a useful diagnostic tool in rhabdomyosarcoma.

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