Retroperitoneal sarcomas are rare tumors of which liposarcoma is the most common histology. Surgical resection remains the mainstay of therapy, particularly for the well-differentiated subtype. They can grow to massive size before causing symptoms or detection. Well-differentiated liposarcoma, while having a negligible metastatic rate, is fraught with a high local recurrence rate, despite a complete surgical resection. Reasons for this are not completely known but may be related to a field defect of the retroperitoneal fat creating a niche for recurrence. These tumors are classically chemo- and radio-resistant. Surgical therapy of recurrences can be challenging, but remains the treatment of choice for well-differentiated liposarcoma. In an attempt to improve on survival and recurrence rates for retroperitoneal liposarcoma, an extended resection approach has been promoted by a few groups. This involves the en bloc resection of contiguous organs that are not macroscopically involved. While this has improved local recurrence rates, benefit for overall survival has not been demonstrated. Interestingly, the improvement in local recurrence rate appeared to be driven by histology and was most improved in the well-differentiated subtype compared to historical data. However, for well-differentiated liposarcomas that are multifocal, this approach may be less useful. The application of this approach still requires further study in terms of balancing increased morbidity of extended resection against the potential for multiple surgeries for recurrence.
Keywords: Abdominal; Liposarcoma; Retroperitoneum; Surgery; Well-differentiated.