What are the methods used to stage rhabdomyosarcoma?

Updated: Feb 01, 2019
  • Author: Amelia F Drake, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Two methods are used to stage rhabdomyosarcoma. The initial staging system, adopted in the first 3 intergroup rhabdomyosarcoma studies, categorizes patients on the basis of the extent of disease and the completeness of their initial surgical resection. Investigators in the IRS-IV attempted to use the tumor, node, and metastasis (TNM) system to standardize the staging system in the United States with those in other parts of the world. Unlike the first system, TNM staging does not take the extent of surgery into account, though it does take size and location into consideration.

The 2 staging systems are combined, and individuals with rhabdomyosarcoma are given 1 of 3 risk classifications: low, intermediate, or high. Treatment options are tailored for these risk classifications.

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