Purpose To describe clinical details and outcome of children and adolescents with primary sarcomas of the diaphragm treated on Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Studies (IRS) I through IV. Patients and Methods We reviewed the records of 15 patients with sarcoma of the diaphragm who were entered on IRS Group protocols between 1972 and 1997. Patient ages at diagnosis ranged from 0.5 to 20 years (median, 13 yrs), and 10 were girls. Patients had chest pain, dyspnea, and/or coughing, decreased breath sounds, and occasionally hepatomegaly. Results Localized, gross residual disease after initial surgery was present in 10 patients, and five had metastases at diagnosis (pleura, 3; pericardium, 1; lungs and bones, 1). Tumor subtypes were alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) in five cases, embryonal RMS in three, undifferentiated sarcoma in three, extraosseous Ewing sarcoma in three, and unclassified sarcoma in one. Treatment consisted of radiation therapy to the primary tumor and metastases when feasible, and combination chemotherapy with vincristine, actinomycin D, and cyclophosphamide with or without doxorubicin, ifosfamide, cisplatin, and etoposide. Ten patients achieved complete remission (67%), four obtained a partial remission, and one was improved. Five patients (33%) are continuously failure-free and alive at a median of 8.8 years from diagnosis (range, 1.1-15 yrs). However, the other 10 patients experienced relapse at 0.3 to 2 years from start of therapy (median, 1 yr). Sites of relapse were local in five, distant in three, and combined in two. Death after relapse occurred at 0.39 to 2.6 years (median, 1.6 yrs) from diagnosis. Conclusions Sarcomas of the diaphragm are generally deemed unresectable at diagnosis and/or are metastatic. Most of them are not embryonal rhabdomyosarcomas. Treatment with more effective primary chemotherapy to shrink the tumor, followed-up by surgical resection and radiation therapy, should improve the prognosis for patients with sarcomas arising in the diaphragm, especially for the majority who have localized tumors.
- Soft-tissue sarcoma