Primary malignant sarcomas of the heart and great vessels in adult patients--a single-center experience

Oncologist. 2007 Sep;12(9):1134-42. doi: 10.1634/theoncologist.12-9-1134.


Background: Sarcomas arising in the heart or the great vessels are rare entities. The prognosis of the patients is dismal.

Methods: Between January 1993 and September 2006, of 1,429 patients registered to the Sarcoma Center, 14 had a primary sarcoma of the heart or large vessels.

Results: Tumors were located in the left ventricle (n = 3), left/right atrium (n = 2/3), pulmonary artery (n = 2), and ventricular septum, aorta, pericardium, and inferior vena cava (n = 1 each). The most frequently encountered histologic subtypes were leiomyosarcoma and angiosarcoma. Six patients presented with distant metastases to the lungs (n = 5), lymph nodes (n = 2), and liver (n = 1). Eight patients had localized disease. Six of them underwent resection with curative intent. Of those, two developed local recurrence within 2 and 10 months from surgery. Eleven patients received palliative chemotherapy, seven of those as initial treatment. Eight patients attained a response to treatment, two had disease stabilization for 6 and 12 months. After a median follow-up of 14.5 months (range, 2-156), three patients were alive with no evidence of disease 11, 52, and 156 months after diagnosis. Two patients were alive with disease and nine patients had died.

Conclusions: Patients with primary sarcomas of the heart and the large vessels were of a young age, and more than half of them presented with advanced disease. Given the promising response to chemotherapy, an optimized treatment approach including neoadjuvant chemo-/radiotherapy in patients with locally advanced disease should be pursued.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aortic Diseases / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Heart Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Hemangiosarcoma / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Leiomyosarcoma / epidemiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / secondary
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy / statistics & numerical data
  • Pulmonary Artery / pathology
  • Remission Induction
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sarcoma / economics
  • Sarcoma / epidemiology*
  • Survival Rate
  • Vascular Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Venae Cavae / pathology