EDUCATION > Educational Programs > E-Learning > Pathology for Urologists

Pathology for Urologists

Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS)


Image A
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Image B
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  • Most common prostate tumor in the first 2 decades of life (ave. 7 years); very rare in adults.
  • Presents with obstructive urinary symptoms.
  • Gross: fleshy tumor with history of rapid growth.
  • May initially present as a polypoid mass in prostatic urethra and can mimic a fibroepithelial polyp.
  • Histology:
    • Most commonly embryonal type, alveolar type less common.
    • Embryonal RMS shows sheets of "small round blue cells"* with scattered "strap cells" or "tadpole cells" having cross-striations (rhabdomyoblasts) (image A) & (image B).
    • Alveolar RMS shows anastomosing fibrous septa (like lung air spaces) and the tumor cells populate the alveolar spaces.
  • Express desmin and skeletal muscles markers myoD1 and myogenin.
  • About 2/3 of alveolar RMS will show t(2;13) and t(1;13).
  • Prognosis is related to histologic type and tumor stage.
  • Alveolar RMS has poorer prognosis.
  • In contrast to pediatric RMS, adult RMS does not appear to respond to multimodal therapy and has a poorer prognosis.

Leiomyosarcoma (LMS)


  • Infrequent (<1%), but LMS together with rhabdomyosarcoma are the most predominant types of prostate sarcomas in adult.
  • Occur in 40s to 70s, but may occur in younger and pediatric patients.
  • Most presents with obstructive symptoms; also hematuria and weight loss.
  • LMS may grow large (mean 9 cm) and replace entire prostate; often is difficult to completely resect the tumor.
  • Histology:
    • Dense fascicles of spindle cells with pleomorphic cigar-shaped nuclei, prominent nucleoli and abundant mitosis; higher grade tumors, fasciculations become vague.
    • Necrosis is common and tumors may undergo cystic degeneration
  • Immunohistochemistry: diagnosis confirmed by smooth muscle markers, such as actin+ and desmin+.
  • Aggressive course with 1-year survival of 55%.
  • DDX: other spindle cell tumors such as sarcomatoid carcinoma (keratin+), stromal sarcoma
    (CD34+, actin-), GIST (c-kit+) and SFT (CD34+, actin-).

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