Medline: 9917751

Medical and Pediatric Oncology 32(1): 38-43, 1999.

Hemihypertrophy and a poorly differentiated embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma of the pelvis.

Samuel DP, Tsokos M, DeBaun MR


Asymmetry of the limbs (conventionally known as hemihypertrophy) is one of the overgrowth syndromes occurring sporadically in the general population at a frequency of approximately 1:86,000. Hemihypertrophy is also reported as part of the Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome which has as its cardinal features omphalocele, macroglossia and gigantism with hypoglycemia, organomegaly, renal anomalies, hemihypertrophy, and embryonal tumors occurring less frequently. Various neoplasms are also associated with isolated hemihypertrophy. Wilms tumor, adrenocortical carcinoma, and hepatoblastoma are the most frequent. Rhabdomyosarcoma, neuroblastoma, phaeochromocytoma, and undifferentiated sarcoma of the lung are encountered only rarely. Loss of heterozygosity (LOH) of chromosome 11p15.5 is strongly associated with childhood embryonal tumors, particularly Wilms tumor, hepatoblastoma, and rhabdomyosarcoma. PROCEDURE AND

In this article, we describe an adolescent male with congenital asymmetry of the lower limbs who presented with a large poorly differentiated pelvic sarcoma. Conventional histologic, immunohistochemical, and ultrastructural studies of this tumor were insufficient for accurate subclassfication. However, positive staining for MyoD1 (a recently identified embryonically expressed marker of muscle differentiation) and LOH at the tyrosine hydroxylase locus of chromosome 11p15.5 by molecular analysis favored the diagnosis of embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma over an undifferentiated sarcoma.

This case stresses the importance of pursuing clinical findings when they occur in conditions with an increased risk of developing cancer, which in this case was asymmetry of a limb. Also illustrated by this patient is the need for early consideration of molecular diagnostic tests where available, to refine an uncertain pathologic diagnosis that may ultimately have an impact on treatment and prognosis.

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