Sahel Medical Journal

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Head And Neck Rhabdomyosacroma In Childhood: An Immunohistochemical Study

AN Olu-Eddo, JO Thomas


Background: Rhabdomyosarcoma may be histologically indistinguishable from other undifferentiated childhood tumours occurring in the head and neck region on routine heamatoxylin and eosin staining.
Aim: aimed at assessing the usefulness of employing immunohistochemistry, as an adjunct to routine H&E staining, in the histogenetic diagnosis of childhood rhabdomyosarcoma.
Methodology: This was a 5-year retrospective study of twelve cases of childhood head and neck rhabdomyosarcoma at the Department of Pathology, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria. Antibodies used included antibodies to desmin, myoglobin, leukocyte-common-antigen (LCA), vimentin, cytokeratin, neuron-specific-enolase(NSE), neurofilament and retinal-S-antigen.
Results: A change was made in the diagnosis of 4(33.3%) cases. Of these 4 cases, 3(25%) cases showed immunoreactivity for LCA and were designated lymphoma. The 4th case co-expressed NSE and retinal-S-antigen and was therefore diagnosed as retinoblastoma. The average survival of patients with final immunohistochemical diagnosis of rhabdomyosarcoma was 43.8 months while patients with changed diagnosis had an average survival of 7.5 months.
Conclusion: Immunohistochemistry should be made available for the routine diagnosis of these undifferentiated tumours in reference laboratories in developing countries.

Keywords: Childhood; Rhabdomyosarcoma; Immunohistochemistry

Sahel Medical Journal Vol. 11 (3) 2008: pp. 88-92
AJOL African Journals Online