What is the role of lab tests in the workup of pediatric rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS)?

Updated: Mar 28, 2019
  • Author: Roshni Dasgupta, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Eugene S Kim, MD, FACS, FAAP  more...
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Laboratory tests used in the workup of RMS include the following:

  • Complete blood count (CBC) - Anemia, neutropenia and thrombocytopenia may be seen in patients with RMS
  • Electrolytes, blood gases, and protein - Sodium, potassium, chlorine, carbon dioxide, calcium, phosphorus, and albumin should be evaluated before the initiation of chemotherapy
  • Renal function tests - Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine must be evaluated before chemotherapy
  • Liver function tests - Results of these (including aspartate transaminase [AST], alanine transaminase [ALT], and bilirubin) may be altered by metastasis of RMS to the liver
  • Urinalysis - Hematuria may be seen in patients with genitourinary RMS

Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) may be utilized to determine translocations t(1;13) or t(2;13), which are often present in alveolar RMS (ARMS), and to direct treatment.

Reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is used to evaluate for translocations associated with ARMS when cytogenetic evaluation is not possible or when results from cytogenetic testing are equivocal.

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