Soft Tissue Sarcoma

Soft tissue sarcoma causes, symptoms, complications and treatment in the best hospitals in the world

Soft tissue sarcoma is a rare cancer that begins in the connective, supporting, and surrounding tissues of other body structures. This includes your muscles, fat, blood vessels, nerves, tendons, and joint lining.

There are over 50 subtypes of soft tissue sarcoma. Certain types are more likely to affect children, whereas others predominantly affect adults. These tumors can be difficult to diagnose due to the fact that they can be confused with numerous other types of growths.

The most common types of soft tissue sarcoma occur in the arms and legs, as well as in the abdomen. Radiation and chemotherapy may also be recommended, depending on the size, type, location, and aggressiveness of the tumor. The most common treatment for tumors is surgical removal.

Soft Tissue Sarcoma Symptoms

In its early stages, a soft tissue sarcoma may not manifest any signs or symptoms. As the tumor expands, it may result in:

An obvious bump or swelling
If a tumor presses on nerves or muscles, there is pain.

Soft Tissue Sarcoma Causes

In most cases, the cause of soft tissue sarcoma is unknown.

In general, cancer develops when DNA mutations occur within cells. The errors cause uncontrolled cell growth and division. The abnormal cells can spread throughout the body and form a tumor capable of invading nearby structures.

The type of soft tissue sarcoma you have is determined by the type of cell from which the genetic mutation arises. Angiosarcoma, for instance, begins in the lining of blood vessels, whereas liposarcoma begins in fat cells. These are some examples of soft tissue sarcoma:

  • Angiosarcoma
  • Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans
  • Astrocytic sarcoma
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST)
  • Kaposi’s sarcoma
  • Leiomyosarcoma
  • Liposarcoma
  • Malignant nerve sheath tumor of the periphery
  • Myxofibrosarcoma
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma
  • Unique fibrous tumor
  • Synovial sarcoma
  • Undifferentiated (pleomorphic sarcoma) (pleomorphic sarcoma)

The following factors may increase your risk of sarcoma:

  • Genetic syndromes. Soft tissue sarcoma risk can be inherited from one’s parents. Hereditary retinoblastoma, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, familial adenomatous polyposis, neurofibromatosis, tuberous sclerosis, and Werner syndrome are genetic syndromes that increase your risk.
  • Chemical contact. Certain chemicals, such as herbicides, arsenic, and dioxin, may increase the likelihood of developing soft tissue sarcomas.
  • Radiation exposure. Previous radiation therapy for other cancers can increase the likelihood of developing soft tissue sarcomas.

Soft Tissue Sarcoma Diagnostics

Because there are numerous types of soft tissue sarcoma, it is essential to determine the precise nature of each tumor in order to select the most effective treatment.

Imaging tests
To evaluate the area of concern, your physician may use:

  • X-rays
  • Computed tomography scans
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Positron emission tomography

Needle core biopsy. Tiny tubes of tumor tissue can be extracted using this technique. Typically, doctors will attempt to obtain tissue samples from multiple sections of the tumor.
operative biopsy.
In some instances, your doctor may recommend surgery to obtain a larger tissue sample or to completely remove a small tumor.
A pathologist examines the tissue sample for indications of cancer in the laboratory. The pathologist also analyzes the sample to determine the type of cancer and the aggressiveness of the disease.

Soft Tissue Sarcoma Treatment

Your treatment options for soft tissue sarcoma will vary based on the tumor’s size, type, and location.

The most common treatment for soft tissue sarcoma is surgery. During surgery, the cancer and some healthy tissue surrounding it are typically removed. To avoid amputation when soft tissue sarcoma affects the arms and legs, radiation and chemotherapy may be used to shrink the tumor.

Radiation treatment
Radiation therapy is the use of high-powered energy beams to treat cancer. Examples include:

Prior to surgery.

Before surgery, radiation can help shrink the tumor, making it easier to remove.
During operation.
Intraoperative radiation permits a higher radiation dose to be delivered directly to the target area while sparing the surrounding tissues.
Following surgery.
Postoperative radiation can assist in the elimination of any remaining cancer cells.

Chemotherapy is a drug treatment that kills cancer cells using chemicals. Chemotherapy can be administered orally or intravenously (intravenously). Some types of soft tissue sarcoma respond to chemotherapy more effectively than others. For instance, rhabdomyosarcoma is frequently treated with chemotherapy.

Targeted drug treatment
Certain types of soft tissue sarcoma have cell characteristics that are susceptible to targeted drug therapies. These medications are more effective than chemotherapy and significantly less toxic. Particularly beneficial have been targeted therapies for gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs).