Pregnancy and genital sarcoma: a systematic review of the literature

Am J Perinatol. 2009 Aug;26(7):507-18. doi: 10.1055/s-0029-1215428. Epub 2009 Mar 13.


We conducted a literature review to determine the clinical characteristics of genital sarcoma during pregnancy. The systematic literature search was conducted using the search engines PubMed and MEDLINE with keywords "sarcoma" and "pregnancy" and was limited to female genital organs such as ovary, uterus, cervix, vagina, vulva, and retroperitoneal sarcoma. Kaposi's sarcoma, metastatic sarcoma, history of sarcoma, bone sarcoma located in pelvis, and fetal sarcoma were excluded in this study. There were 40 cases of genital sarcoma during pregnancy between 1955 and 2007. The majority of the cases were uterine sarcoma (37.5%), followed by retroperitoneal sarcoma (27.5%), vulvar sarcoma (22.5%), and vaginal sarcoma (12.5%). Mean age of the patient was 27.8 +/- 7.0. The distribution in the onset of symptoms had two peaks: first trimester (27.5%) and third trimester (50.0%). Growing mass (42.5%), abdominal pain (30.0%), and vaginal bleeding (22.5%) were the three most common symptoms. Incidental diagnosis was made in 22.5% and included during cesarean section (12.5%) and routine pelvic exam (7.5%). The cases initially not suspicious for malignancy were 42.5%. Thirty-three (82.5%) cases had live-born infants with term delivery in 55.2%. Mean birth weight was 2843 +/- 791 g, and male infants were more common (66.7%). Intrauterine growth retardation was seen in 12.5% of cases. Preterm labor was a common complication. Median survival period was 2.5 years (95% confidence, 1.9 to 3.1). The 2-, 3-, and 5-year cumulative survival rates were 60%, 38%, and 17%, respectively. Genital sarcomas in pregnancy are rare. There is a delay in diagnosis due to low index of suspicion. A majority had live births, and the 5-year survival is similar to that of advanced-stage sarcoma in nonpregnant women.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cesarean Section
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / diagnosis*
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / mortality
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / therapy
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Neoplastic / diagnosis*
  • Pregnancy Complications, Neoplastic / mortality
  • Pregnancy Complications, Neoplastic / therapy
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Pregnancy Trimesters
  • Premature Birth
  • Prenatal Diagnosis*
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sarcoma / diagnosis*
  • Sarcoma / mortality
  • Sarcoma / therapy
  • Survival Analysis
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult