Soft-tissue sarcoma

J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2009 Jan;17(1):40-7. doi: 10.5435/00124635-200901000-00006.


Soft-tissue sarcomas are rare malignancies of mesodermal origin. Common sites of involvement include the extremities, trunk, retroperitoneum, and the head and neck. Soft-tissue sarcomas of the extremities and pelvis are the most relevant to the orthopaedic surgeon. The patient with extremity soft-tissue sarcoma typically presents with a painless, enlarging mass. Advanced imaging techniques and biopsy, which are best done at tertiary referral centers, usually confirm the diagnosis. Factors such as sarcoma size, location, grade, histologic subtype, and stage, as well as patient age and comorbidities, determine the specific approach to management and patient outcome. Limb-sparing surgical resection is the mainstay of treatment. Radiation is used for unresectable tumors and as a neoadjuvant or an adjuvant to resection. The use of chemotherapy is controversial, and no standardized protocol has been established.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Sarcoma / diagnosis*
  • Sarcoma / pathology
  • Sarcoma / radiotherapy
  • Sarcoma / surgery*
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / pathology
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / surgery*