Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is a skeletal muscle cancer that can be found anywhere in the body, from the head to the limbs. It is a rare, though often fatal, disease that primarily affects children.
RMS is one of many types of sarcoma, cancers derived from connective tissues like muscle and fat. There are two different types of RMS, known as embryonal and alveolar. Embryonal RMS is found mainly in children under age five and has a five-year survival rate of about 40%. Alveolar RMS has a five-year survival rate of less than 20% and affects children of all ages.
RMS has challenged scientists and clinicians as they work to understand what causes the disease and how best to treat it. The disease is rare and the genomic landscape of RMS tumors is varied. Because of this, RMS is understudied. But recent research suggests that the disease holds great promise for a cure.