General Information About Childhood Soft Tissue Sarcoma
In order to plan the best treatment, a large sample of tissue may be removed during the biopsy to find out the type of soft tissue sarcoma and do laboratory tests. Tissue samples will be taken from the primary tumor, lymph nodes, and other areas that may have a tumor. A pathologist views the tissue under a microscope to look for cancer cells and to find out the type and grade of the tumor. The grade of a tumor depends on how abnormal the cancer cells look under a microscope and how quickly the cells are dividing. High-grade and mid-grade tumors usually grow and spread more quickly than low-grade tumors. Because soft tissue sarcoma can be hard to diagnose, patients should ask to have the tissue sample checked by a pathologist who has experience in diagnosing soft tissue sarcoma.
One or more of the following laboratory tests may be done to study the tissue samples:
- Cytogenetic analysis: A laboratory test in which cells in a sample of tissue are viewed under a microscope to look for certain changes in the chromosomes.
- Immunohistochemistry study: A laboratory test in which dyes or enzymes are added to a blood or bone marrow sample to test for certain antigens (proteins that stimulate the body's immune response).
- Immunocytochemistry study: A laboratory test that uses different substances to stain (color) cells in a sample of tissue. This is used to tell the difference between the different types of soft tissue sarcoma.
- Light and electron microscopy: A laboratory test in which cells in a sample of tissue are viewed under regular and high-powered microscopes to look for certain changes in the cells.
Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options.
The prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options depend on the following:
- The type of soft tissue sarcoma.
- The stage of the cancer (the amount of tumor remaining after surgery to remove it or whether the tumor has spread to other places in the body).
- The location, grade, and size of the tumor and how deep under the skin the tumor is.
- Whether the patient also has a condition called neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1).
- The age of the patient.
- Whether the cancer has just been diagnosed or has recurred (come back).