Non-parameningeal head and neck rhabdomyosarcoma in children, adolescents, and young adults: Experience of the European paediatric Soft tissue sarcoma Study Group (EpSSG) - RMS2005 study

Glosli H, Bisogno G, Kelsey A, Chisholm J, Gaze M, Kolb F, McHugh K, Shipley J, Gallego S, Merks JHM, Smeele LE, Mandeville H, Ferrari A, Minard-Colin V, Corradini N, Jenney M, Zanetti I, De Salvo GL, Orbach D, EpSSG members Eur J Cancer 2021 Jul;151:84-93. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2021.04.007. Epub 2021 May 7.

The primary aim of this study was to analyse and evaluate the impact of different local treatments on the pattern of relapse in children with primary head and neck non-parameningeal (HNnPM) rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), treated in the European paediatric Soft tissue sarcoma Study Group (EpSSG) RMS2005 study. The secondary aim was to assess whether current risk stratification is valid for this specific site.
This study includes all patients with localised HNnPM RMS enrolled in the RMS2005 study between 2005 and 2016. Treatment comprised chemotherapy adapted to risk group, with local surgery and/or radiation therapy. The main outcome measures were eventfree survival (EFS) and overall survival (OS).
A total of 165 patients were identified; the median age was 6.4 years (range, 0.1e25). The most common tumour sites were cheek/chin (22%) and nasal ala/nasolabial fold (20%). Histology was unfavourable for 40%, and regional nodal involvement present in 26%. Local therapy included surgery (58%) and/or radiotherapy (72%) to primary tumour and/or regional lymph nodes. After a median follow-up of 66 months (range, 6e158), 42 patients experienced an event, and 17 are still alive. Tumour events were frequent in oral primary (36%), parotid site (26%), cheek/chin (24%), and nasal ala/nasolabial fold (24%) and included locoregional failure in 84% of cases. The 5-year EFS and OS were 75% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 67.3e81.2) and 84.9% (95% CI: 77.5e89.7), respectively. Favourable histology was associated with a better EFS (82.3% versus 64.6%; p Z 0.02) and nodal spread with a worse OS (88.6% versus 76.1%; p Z 0.04). Different sublocations within the HNnPM primary did not have significant impact on outcome.
Locoregional relapse/progression is the main tumour failure event in this site. Despite frequent unfavourable risk factors, HNnPM RMS remains a favourable location in the context of a risk-adapted strategy