Flow cytometric DNA analysis was performed on 17 rhabdomyosarcomas in conjunction with a histopathological review to determine the usefulness of this technique to predict the biologic behavior of the tumor and to establish the characteristic ploidy pattern of rhabdomyosarcoma compared to other small round cell tumors occurring in childhood. Aneuploidy including near-tetraploidy is the most common ploidy pattern encountered, followed by multiploidy and diploidy, and the presence of multiploidy in this tumor is useful for differentiating rhabdomyosarcoma from other kinds of small round cell tumors in which there are rare previous reports on occurrence of multiploidy. Even though there is no significant correlation between ploidy pattern and histologic type of rhabdomyosarcoma, patients with multiploid tumors or aneuploid tumors with a DNA index of 1.10-1.80 tend to have a high risk of treatment failure. Therefore, the ploidy pattern seems to be useful for predicting the patient's survival in concert with other variables.
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