Ophthalmic striated muscle neoplasms Article Report uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin


  • Rhabdomyosarcoma, the most common primary malignant childhood orbital tumor, is composed of neoplastic striated muscle cells (rhabdomyoblasts) in various stages of differentiation and in patterns suggestive of neoplastic analogs of normal muscle embryogenesis. Orbital rhabdomyosarcoma is most commonly seen in children and adolescents, the average age of onset of symptoms being 7.8 years. The tumor usually presents as a rapidly evolving exophthalmos, often associated with drooping of the upper eyelid. A mass is palapable in only 25% of cases, loss of central vision at the time of presentation is uncommon, and laboratory studies are often of little help in diagnosis. The best diagnostic aid is a high index of suspicion whenever one sees a rapidly progressive exophthalamos in a child. Orbital rhabdomyosarcoma is almost always of the embryonal type, believed to originate in the orbital soft tissues from undifferentiated pluripotential embryonic mesenchyme. In the past, orbital exenteration has been the primary therapy. Review of 162 literature cases of orbital rhabdomyosarcoma, generally treated by unassisted surgery, revealed that only 25% of the patients survived 3 or more years. Recently, it has been shown that radiation therapy, alone or combined with chemotherapy, can be successful. A multidisciplinary approach, utilizing surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy has also been advocated. Both approaches appear to offer greater survival than unassisted orbital exenteration. The possibility of primary radiation therapy is extremely promising; if it becomes increasingly effective, a mutilating surgical procedure may become obsolete.

publication date

  • January 1976



  • Report


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/0039-6257(76)90123-5

PubMed ID

  • 797029

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 219

end page

  • 61


  • 21


  • 3