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Spindle cell rhabdomyosarcoma of the tongue in an infant: a case report with emphasis on differential diagnosis of childhood spindle cell lesions

Pathology - Research and Practice
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.prp.2004.04.001
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma
  • Rhabdomyofibrosarcoma
  • Spindle Cell Lesions
  • Tongue
  • Childhood Tumors
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Medicine


Abstract Malignant tumors are extremely uncommon in infants, specifically in the head and neck region. We present a three-day-old infant with a large, polypoid, soft tissue mass arising from the floor of the mouth. Histologically, this neoplasm consisted of hypercellular and myxoid areas. A mixture of poorly oriented, small, undifferentiated, hyperchromatic, and round to elongate spindle cells was seen. A high degree of striated muscle differentiation was present, along with areas marked by a herringbone pattern, as well as hemangiopericytic vessels and rare mitosis. Immunohistochemical examinations revealed strong nuclear staining for myogenin and diffuse cytoplasmic staining for desmin and muscle-specific actin (HHF-35). The tumor did not stain for S-100. Based on histologic results and immunostains, this lesion was diagnosed as spindle cell rhabdomyosarcoma. This type of lesion involving the tongue is rarely seen in females, neither in association with a herringbone pattern nor with hemangiopericytic vessels. Furthermore, rare benign and malignant spindle lesions, such as cellular fibromatosis, fetal rhabdomyoma, infantile hemangiopericytoma, infantile rhabdomyofibrosarcoma, and infantile fibrosarcoma, should be in the differential diagnosis and excluded.

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