Soft tissue sarcomas


  • Sumitra Chanpeng Surgery Division, Chaiyaphum Hospital Medical Education Center


Soft tissue sarcoma, Sarcoma, Soft tissue tumor



          Soft tissue sarcomas (STS) are a group of rare tumors that arise from mesenchymal tissues. Although the etiology is unknown, there are risk factors that increase the risk of STS, such as chemical substances, pesticides, herbicides, and radiation therapies. STS is classified by the WHO into more than 50 histological subtypes and they typically appear as an asymptomatic mass. They can occur anywhere in the body, particularly the arm, leg, trunk, retroperitoneum, head and neck. Diagnosis is made by biopsy for pathological examination. The recommended method is to perform a core needle biopsy along with radiologic imaging, e.g., CT, MRI, or PET scan to assess the size of the tumor, the stage of the disease, and the ability to determine the exact location of the biopsy. The American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) staging system for soft tissue sarcomas is based on histologic grade, tumor size and depth, and the presence of nodal or distant metastases. The treatment goals are to achieve long-term survival, local disease control, and to preserve the function of and the quality of life. Wide local resections are still the primary treatment. Adjuvant radiation therapy is for prevention of local recurrence, whereas radiation therapy prior to resection is to reduce the tumor size. The purpose of chemotherapy is systemic control; therapeutic, adjuvant, and palliative. However, there is still controversy over survival, therefore, chemotherapy is considered on a case-by-case basis. Currently, studies of the molecular characteristics of these tumors have led to the invention of targeted therapy. Most studies are still in phases one and two, but they are likely to be incorporated into standard treatment strategies in the future.


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