What is the definition of Liposarcoma?
Liposarcoma is a tumor that arises from fat tissue. This tumor often occurs in the thigh, legs, behind the knee, or in the abdomen, but it can be found in other parts of the body, in the retroperitoneum; and, less often, in the head and neck area. Their primary occurrence in the skin is rare. Because a liposarcoma may grow into surrounding tissues or organs, it is considered a malignant tumor. The World Health Organization classification of soft tissue tumors recognizes 5 types of liposarcomas: Well differentiated, which includes the adipocytic, sclerosing, and inflammatory subtypes; dedifferentiated; myxoid; round cell; and pleomorphic. Most patients with liposarcoma have no symptoms until the tumor is large and invades the neighboring organs or tissues, causing tenderness, pain, or functional problems. Although surgical removal of the tumor is the curative treatment, some patients may benefit from chemotherapy and radiation.
What are the current treatments for Liposarcoma?
The treatment for liposarcoma depends on the type, size, and location of the tumor. Surgery to remove the tumor is often the first treatment. When the tumor is in the abdomen, it may be difficult to remove completely, especially if the tumor is growing near important organs that cannot be removed. If the entire tumor cannot be removed during surgery, radiation therapy may be used after surgery to kill any cancer cells that remain to reduce the chance of the tumor coming back (a recurrence). Chemotherapy is another treatment that can kill remaining cancer cells following surgery, though it is not usually used to treat low-grade sarcomas.
Sometimes radiation therapy or chemotherapy may be done prior to surgery to shrink the tumor; this may increase the chance of removing the whole tumor during surgery while limiting the impact to other organs.