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Childhood Liver Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Treatment of Undifferentiated Embryonal Sarcoma of the Liver

Treatment Options

Undifferentiated embryonal sarcoma of the liver is so rare that only small series have been published regarding treatment. However, use of aggressive chemotherapy regimens seems to have improved the overall survival (OS). The generally accepted approach is resection of the primary tumor mass in the liver when possible. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy can be effective in decreasing an unresectable primary tumor mass, resulting in resectability.[1,2,3,4] The OS of these children appears to be substantially better than 50% when combining reports, although all series are small and most may be selected to report successful treatment.[1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9][Level of evidence: 3iiiA] Most patients were treated with chemotherapy regimens often used for pediatric rhabdomyosarcoma or Ewing sarcoma without cisplatin.

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Liver transplantation has on occasion been used successfully to treat an otherwise unresectable primary tumor.[7,9,10] In the only prospective series from the Italian and German Soft Tissue Sarcoma Cooperative Groups, patients were treated with conservative surgery or biopsy followed by neoadjuvant chemotherapy consisting of varying combinations of vincristine, cyclophosphamide, dactinomycin, doxorubicin, and ifosfamide. Disease evaluation, usually after four cycles of chemotherapy, was followed by second-look surgery when appropriate to try to remove residual primary tumor followed by additional and/or adjuvant chemotherapy. Ten of 17 patients survived in their first complete remission, and one patient survived in his or her third complete remission.[5]


  1. Chowdhary SK, Trehan A, Das A, et al.: Undifferentiated embryonal sarcoma in children: beware of the solitary liver cyst. J Pediatr Surg 39 (1): E9-12, 2004.
  2. Baron PW, Majlessipour F, Bedros AA, et al.: Undifferentiated embryonal sarcoma of the liver successfully treated with chemotherapy and liver resection. J Gastrointest Surg 11 (1): 73-5, 2007.
  3. Kim DY, Kim KH, Jung SE, et al.: Undifferentiated (embryonal) sarcoma of the liver: combination treatment by surgery and chemotherapy. J Pediatr Surg 37 (10): 1419-23, 2002.
  4. Webber EM, Morrison KB, Pritchard SL, et al.: Undifferentiated embryonal sarcoma of the liver: results of clinical management in one center. J Pediatr Surg 34 (11): 1641-4, 1999.
  5. Bisogno G, Pilz T, Perilongo G, et al.: Undifferentiated sarcoma of the liver in childhood: a curable disease. Cancer 94 (1): 252-7, 2002.
  6. Urban CE, Mache CJ, Schwinger W, et al.: Undifferentiated (embryonal) sarcoma of the liver in childhood. Successful combined-modality therapy in four patients. Cancer 72 (8): 2511-6, 1993.
  7. Okajima H, Ohya Y, Lee KJ, et al.: Management of undifferentiated sarcoma of the liver including living donor liver transplantation as a backup procedure. J Pediatr Surg 44 (2): e33-8, 2009.
  8. Weitz J, Klimstra DS, Cymes K, et al.: Management of primary liver sarcomas. Cancer 109 (7): 1391-6, 2007.
  9. Plant AS, Busuttil RW, Rana A, et al.: A single-institution retrospective cases series of childhood undifferentiated embryonal liver sarcoma (UELS): success of combined therapy and the use of orthotopic liver transplant. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol 35 (6): 451-5, 2013.
  10. Kelly MJ, Martin L, Alonso M, et al.: Liver transplant for relapsed undifferentiated embryonal sarcoma in a young child. J Pediatr Surg 44 (12): e1-3, 2009.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

    Last Updated: 8/, 015
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