Retroperitoneal tumors: Review of diagnosis and management

Int J Urol. 2020 Dec;27(12):1058-1070. doi: 10.1111/iju.14361. Epub 2020 Sep 10.


Retroperitoneal tumors are extremely rare tumors occurring in the retroperitoneum. Retroperitoneal tumors are divided into benign tumors and malignant tumors, including retroperitoneal sarcoma. Approximately 70-80% of primary retroperitoneal soft-tissue tumors are malignant; however, these only account for 0.1-0.2% of all malignancies. Retroperitoneal sarcoma is an orphan malignant disease with a low incidence. The information on benign retroperitoneal tumors is limited. The American Joint Committee on Cancer/TNM classification updated to the 8th edition in 2017. In 2010, three new drugs for soft tissue sarcoma were approved based on the results of phase III trials, but the histological subtypes of the patients enrolled in the trials of each drug differed. Recently, in addition to surgery for retroperitoneal sarcoma, the effectiveness of perioperative radiation therapy has become interesting. For malignant retroperitoneal tumors and retroperitoneal sarcoma, survival improvement and locoregional recurrence prevention can be undertaken by carrying out surgery to secure negative margins with wide and combined resection of some adjacent organs, and cooperation with a trained medical team comprising of radiologists, pathologists and medical oncologists in centralized hospitals. Some clinical trials aimed at further improving treatment results by adding preoperative chemotherapy and radiation therapy based on histological confirmation using a correct needle biopsy are in progress. In recent years, molecular profiling has been used to select eligible patients for chemotherapy. In the future, precision medicine with next-generation sequencing technology will be expected among the diverse and potential future treatments for retroperitoneal sarcoma. In this review, we summarized the current state of retroperitoneal tumors and retroperitoneal sarcoma.

Keywords: leiomyosarcoma; liposarcoma; retroperitoneal sarcoma; retroperitoneal tumor; soft tissue sarcoma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Margins of Excision
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Retroperitoneal Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Retroperitoneal Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Sarcoma* / diagnosis
  • Sarcoma* / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome