When Rihanna Plaza was born with a tumor the size of her head on her right upper arm, her parents, Ana and Enrique, were shocked—and terrified.
The malignancy was interfering with Rihanna’s arm muscles. Immediate surgery to remove the tumor would cause permanent damage. Chemotherapy was unlikely to have any effect on the tumor, a rare connective tissue malignancy known as a sarcoma.
Then Ana and Enrique found hope for Rihanna at MSK. Their daughter’s tumor had a specific mutation that MSK physicians were targeting with an existing treatment in a clinical trial. Rihanna enrolled in the trial, and the tumor began to shrink rapidly and with no side effects from the drug, larotrectinib.
MSK surgeons were then able to operate and remove the small remaining tumor. Today, Rihanna is a happy, healthy, and playful toddler with full use of her arm.