Open Access Case report

Laryngeal embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma in an adult - A case presentation in the eyes of geneticists and clinicians

Wojciech Kukwa1*, Piotr Wojtowicz1, Beata Jagielska2, Grzegorz Sobczyk12, Andrzej Kukwa1 and Anna M Czarnecka3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Otolaryngology, Czerniakowski Hospital, Medical University of Warsaw, ul. Stepinska 19/25, Warsaw, Poland

2 The Maria Sklodowska-Curie Memorial Cancer Centre and Institute of Oncology, ul. Roentgena 5, Warsaw, Poland

3 Laboratory of Molecular Oncology, Department of Oncology, Military Institute of Medicine, ul. Szaserow 128, Warsaw, Poland

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BMC Cancer 2011, 11:166  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-11-166

Published: 12 May 2011



Rhabdomyosarcoma is a solid tumor, resulting from dysregulation of the skeletal myogenesis program. For rhabdomyosarcomas (RMS) with a predilection for the head and neck, genitourinary tract, extremities, trunk, retroperitoneum, the larynx is still an unusual site. Till now only several cases of this laryngeal tumor have been described in world literature in the adult population. The entire spectrum of genetic factors underlying RMS development and progression is unclear until today. Multiple signaling pathways seem to be involved in ERMS development and progression.

Case presentation

In this paper we report an interesting RMS case in which the disease was located within the glottic region. We report an embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma of the larynx in 33 year-old man. After unsuccessful chemotherapy hemilaryngectomy was performed. In follow up CT no signs of recurrence were found. Recently patient is recurrence free for 62 months.


Considering the histological diagnosis and the highly aggressive nature of the lesion for optimal diagnosis positron electron tomography (PET) and computerized tomography (CT) of the neck and thorax should be performed. At this time surgical treatment with adjuvant radiotherapy seems to be the treatment of choice for this disease. Rhabdomyosarcoma of the larynx has a better prognosis than elsewhere in the body, probably because of its earlier recognition and accessibility to radical surgery.