Malignant fatty tumors: classification, clinical course, imaging appearance and treatment

Skeletal Radiol. 2003 Sep;32(9):493-503. doi: 10.1007/s00256-003-0647-8. Epub 2003 Jun 11.


Liposarcoma is a relatively common soft tissue malignancy with a wide spectrum of clinical presentations and imaging appearances. Several subtypes are described, ranging from lesions nearly entirely composed of mature adipose tissue, to tumors with very sparse adipose elements. The imaging appearance of these fatty masses is frequently sufficiently characteristic to allow a specific diagnosis, while in other cases, although a specific diagnosis is not achievable, a meaningful limited differential diagnosis can be established. The purpose of this paper is to review the spectrum of malignant fatty tumors, highlighting the current classification system, clinical presentation and behavior, treatment and spectrum of imaging appearances. The imaging review will emphasize CT scanning and MR imaging, and will stress differentiating radiologic features.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Liposarcoma / classification*
  • Liposarcoma / diagnosis*
  • Liposarcoma / therapy