The Journal of Laryngology & Otology

Clinical Records

Rhabdomyosarcoma of the trachea: first reported case treated with proton beam therapy

R Exleya1, J M Bernsteina1 c1, B Brennana2 and M P Rotheraa3

a1 Department of Head and Neck Surgical Oncology, Christie Hospital, Manchester, UK

a2 Department of Oncology, Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, UK

a3 Department of Otolaryngology, Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, UK


Objective: We report a case of rhabdomyosarcoma of the trachea in a 14-month-old child, and we present the first reported use of proton beam therapy for this tumour.

Case report: A 14-month-old girl presented acutely with a seven-day history of biphasic stridor. Emergency endoscopic debulking of a posterior tracheal mass was undertaken. Histological examination revealed an embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma with anaplasia. Multimodality therapy with surgery and chemotherapy was administered in the UK, and proton beam therapy in the USA.

Conclusion: Only three cases of rhabdomyosarcoma of the trachea have previously been reported in the world literature. This is the first reported case of treatment of this tumour with proton beam therapy. Compared with conventional radiotherapy, proton beam therapy may confer improved long-term outcome in children, with benefits including reduced irradiation of the spinal cord.

(Accepted January 05 2012)

(Online publication July 17 2012)


c1 Address for correspondence: Mr Jonathan M Bernstein, Clinical Research Fellow, Head and Neck Surgical Oncology, Radiotherapy Related Research, 2nd Floor, Christie Hospital, Wilmslow Road, Manchester M20 4BX, UK Fax: +44 (0)161 446 8111 E-mail:


Presented at the 141st Semon Club Meeting, 2 June 2011, London, UK

Mr J M Bernstein takes responsibility for the integrity of the content of the paper

Competing interests: None declared