Sarcomas are a rare and diverse group of tumours that are derived from connective tissues, including bone, muscle and cartilage. Although there are instances of hereditary predisposition to sarcomas, the overwhelming majority of such tumours are sporadic. In the past decade, we have gained much insight into the genetic abnormalities that seem to underlie the pathogenesis of these tumours. This information has already led to new classification of many sarcomas, as well as to successful therapies that are targeted at specific genetic abnormalities. It is likely that this approach will lead to continued refinements in classification and treatment of these tumours.