Sarcoma incidence worldwide: regional differences in histology and molecular subtypes

Curr Opin Oncol. 2024 Jul 1;36(4):276-281. doi: 10.1097/CCO.0000000000001046. Epub 2024 Apr 25.


Purpose of review: There are numerous sarcoma subtypes and vary widely in terms of epidemiology, clinical characteristics, genetic profiles, and pathophysiology. They also differ widely between ethnic groups. This review focuses on the different incidence rates of sarcomas in different regions and the potential explanations for these disparities.

Recent findings: In an intercontinental study using national cancer registry databases from France and Taiwan, the French population had a higher risk of liposarcomas, leiomyosarcomas, and synovial sarcomas, whereas the Taiwanese population had a higher incidence of angiosarcomas and malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors. The anatomical distribution of these sarcomas also varied between these two regions. In France, most angiosarcoma cases occurred in the extremities and trunk, whereas in Taiwan, angiosarcoma cases in the abdomen and pelvis were more common. Another international study showed that in addition to the common known TP53 and NF1 germline mutations, genes involved in centromere and telomere maintenance were also involved in sarcomagenesis. We reviewed factors related to genetics, environmental effects, chemical exposure, and radiation exposure that could explain the differences in sarcoma incidence among different geographical or ethnic regions.

Summary: Our understanding of the potential cause of sarcomas with different subtypes is limited. Establishing a comprehensive global database for patients with sarcomas from all ethnic groups is essential to deepen our understanding of the potential risk factors and the pathophysiology of all sarcoma subtypes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • France / epidemiology
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Sarcoma* / epidemiology
  • Sarcoma* / genetics
  • Sarcoma* / pathology
  • Taiwan / epidemiology