LAWRENCE J. McCORMACK, M.D.
Department of Pathology
CHARLES C. HIGGINS, M.D.
Department of Urology
“SARCOMA BOTRYOIDES” is a term that has come to include certain neoplasms of the lower genitourinary tract which occur predominantly in children. Although rare, sarcoma botryoides is the most common lower-urogenital sarcoma found in younger age groups. In boys it arises in the bladder, urethra, and prostate; and in girls in the bladder, cervix, and vaginal vault.
The word “botryoid,” derived from a Greek term meaning “like a bunch of grapes,” refers to the gross characteristics of the neoplasm: the formation of fleshy, polypoid or grapelike masses. However, the histopathologic findings in sarcomas with these gross characteristics vary. Many of these sarcomas are only indeterminately spindle-celled, and resemble embryonal connective tissue; others of the group contain heterologous mesenchymal elements that most often resemble immature striated muscle cells, and only occasionally resemble cartilage. Thus, on the basis of these histologic variations, these neoplasms have been classified by terms such as “embryonal sarcoma,” “rhabdomyosarcoma,” and “malignant mesenchymoma.”
The problem of nomenclature and classification of the genitourinary sarcomas is not limited to those in the lower urogenital area or to those found in the very young age group. The Wilms’s tumor or nephroblastoma of the kidney, the major renal neoplasm of childhood, also can be a heterologous mixture of tissue elements. In women, the malignant, mixed mullerian tumors of the uterus possess many elements usually considered to be of mesodermal origin, such as osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, or liposarcoma. The gross characteristics of these müllerian tumors are similar to those of the sarcoma botryoides occurring . . .