Nasal embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma in the pediatric population: literature review and report of midline presentation


Advocate Children's Hospital, Division of Pediatric Plastic and Craniofacial Surgery
Advocate Children's Hospital, Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery
Advocate Children's Hospital, Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology


Background: Congenital midline nasal masses are rare anomalies and are typically benign nasal dermoid sinus cysts (NDSCs). Rhabdomyosarcomas (RMSs) are even less common, and only a fraction affect sites like the external nose, nasal cavity, nasopharynx, and paranasal sinuses. We review the clinical presentation and treatment of nasal, nasopharyngeal, and paranasal RMSs and report the first documented midline presentation.

Methods: We queried PubMed for articles with titles containing the terms rhabdomyosarcoma or sarcoma botryoides and nose, nasal, paranasal, sinonasal, nasopharynx, or nasopharyngeal. We then searched the references of each included article using the same parameters and continued this process iteratively until no new articles were found.

Results: The paranasal sinuses were the most commonly affected site, followed by the nasopharynx, nasal cavity, and external nose. Two patients presented with involvement of the external nose, but each presented with involvement of the right ala rather than a midline mass. The rates of intracranial extension and/or skull base involvement were comparable to those of NDSCs. The alveolar subtype was most common, followed by the embryonal subtype.

Conclusions: Most midline nasal masses are benign; however, we report the first documented presentation of an RMS as a midline nasal mass. Accordingly, RMS should be included in the differential diagnosis of midline nasal masses in the pediatric population. Surgery for midline nasal masses is sometimes delayed due to the risks of interfering with developing structures and early anesthesia. However, early surgical treatment should be considered given this new differential and its predilection for early metastasis.

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