Cardiac sarcomas: an update

J Thorac Oncol. 2010 Sep;5(9):1483-9. doi: 10.1097/JTO.0b013e3181e59a91.


Primary cardiac sarcomas are rare and represent 20% of all primary cardiac tumors. Symptoms depend on the chambers and the cardiac structures involved. Transthoracic echocardiography is commonly used to identify a cardiac mass. The diagnosis of cardiac sarcoma requires adequate sampling and the careful use of ancillary diagnostic techniques. In the most recent histologic classification, angiosarcoma is the most common malignant tumor of the heart with recognizable differentiation. Undifferentiated sarcomas account for one-third of all cardiac sarcomas and have been incorporated in the malignant fibrous histiocytoma/pleomorphic sarcoma subgroup. Elective cardiac sarcoma therapy includes complete surgical excision when possible, followed by radio and chemotherapeutic regimen, the latter preferably containing anthracyclines, ifosfamide, or taxanes. Prognosis of cardiac sarcomas is very poor, with mean survival ranging from 9.6 to 16.5 months. A less-aggressive course seems related to the left atrium location, a low histologic grading with scarce cellular pleomorphism and low-mitotic activity, absence of necrosis, myxoid tumor appearance, and absence of metastasis at diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Heart Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Heart Neoplasms / genetics
  • Heart Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Sarcoma / diagnosis*
  • Sarcoma / genetics
  • Sarcoma / therapy*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor