Medline: 9224476

Ophthalmology 104(7): 1198-1201, 1997.

Multidisciplinary management of refractory orbital rhabdomyosarcoma.

Mannor GE, Rose GE, Plowman PN, et al.


Combined chemotherapy and radiation therapy have improved the survival of children with primary orbital rhabdomyosarcoma, but recurrence or persistence of the local orbital tumor still occurs. There are no established guidelines for dealing with these uncommon patients, and the authors present a review of the combined method treatment and outcome of children with refractory primary orbital rhabdomyosarcoma.

From clinical databases, 67 children with orbital rhabdomyosarcoma were identified. Seven (10%) of the 67 children had tumors refractory to combined chemotherapy and radiation therapy and underwent exenteration or eye-sparing tumor excision. Their clinical course and outcome were reviewed retrospectively.

No patient was lost to follow-up, which ranged from 3.2 to 11 years. Five (71%) of the seven children with refractory tumor are still alive at more than 3 years after surgery (3.2-11 years; mean, 6.9). In one of the two children who died, tumor extended beyond the operative margins at exenteration, and the other child died with regional metastasis within a month of exenteration.

Although more than 90% of children with orbital rhabdomyosarcoma respond to combined therapy by pediatric oncologists and radiotherapists, local orbital (salvage) surgery by ophthalmologists may be of value in the minority of children with refractory tumors. All of the five surviving children appear to be disease free.

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Dr. G. Quade