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Childhood Soft Tissue Sarcoma Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Treatment of Newly Diagnosed Childhood Soft Tissue Sarcoma

Adipocytic Tumors


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Milk thistle is a plant whose fruit and seeds are used to make remedies for liver and bile duct ailments (see Question 1). The active ingredient found in milk thistle is silymarin, an antioxidant that, among other things, protects against cell damage and stimulates repair of liver tissue (see Question 1 and Question 5). Milk thistle has been studied in laboratory cell lines and animal tumors for its potential to make chemotherapy less toxic and more effective, and to slow the growth...

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Liposarcoma is rare in the pediatric population. In a review of 182 pediatric patients with adult-type sarcomas, only 14 had a diagnosis of liposarcoma.[1] One retrospective study identified 34 patients younger than 22 years from 1960 to 2011.[2] There were roughly equal numbers of male and female patients and the median age was 18 years. In an international clinicopathological review, the characteristics of 82 cases of pediatric liposarcoma were reported. The median age was 15.5 years and females were more commonly affected.[3] In both reports, the great majority of patients had myxoid liposarcoma.

Liposarcomas can be roughly divided into the following four large groups:

  • Atypical lipomatous neoplasm/well-differentiated liposarcoma. These tumors do not metastasize unless they undergo dedifferentiation.
  • Myxoid liposarcoma. Pure myxoid liposarcomas are characterized by a t(12;16)(q13;p11) translocation and can metastasize but usually have an excellent outcome in the absence of a round cell component.
  • Dedifferentiated liposarcoma.
  • Pleomorphic liposarcoma.

The great majority of liposarcomas in the pediatric and adolescent age range are low grade. Myxoid liposarcoma is typically low grade. Pleomorphic liposarcoma is typically high grade and much more likely to develop metastasis. Metastasis to lymph nodes is very uncommon, and the great majority of metastases are pulmonary. Tumors arising in the periphery are more likely to be low grade and myxoid. Tumors arising centrally are more likely to be high grade, pleomorphic, and present with metastasis or recur with metastasis.


Surgery is the most important treatment for liposarcoma. After surgical resection of myxoid liposarcoma, event-free survival (EFS) and overall survival (OS) are roughly 90%. Local recurrences have been seen and are controlled with a second resection of the tumor. Higher grade or central tumors are associated with a significantly higher risk of death. In a retrospective review, 5-year survival for central tumors was 42%. In the international review, seven of ten patients with pleomorphic myxoid liposarcoma died because of their disease.[3] If initial surgery is incomplete, re-excision should be performed to achieve a wide margin of resection. There are reports of the use of chemotherapy to decrease the size of liposarcoma before surgery to facilitate complete resection, particularly in central tumors.[4,5] The role of adjuvant chemotherapy for liposarcoma is poorly defined. There does not appear to be a need for any adjuvant therapy for completely resected myxoid liposarcoma. Even with the use of adjuvant chemotherapy, the survival of pleomorphic liposarcoma remains poor.[6]

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