A retrospective study of 167 patients with soft-tissue malignant fibrous histiocytoma of the trunk, extremities, and retroperitoneal region revealed twice as many deeply situated tumors as superficial tumors. Malignant fibrous histiocytoma may be subclassified into fibrous, giant-cell, myxoid, and inflammatory variants. The fibrous variant accounted for two-thirds of the lesions. The prognosis is no different among the histologic subtypes. The depth of the tumor significantly affects survival, and three important groups were identified: superficial tumors, superficial tumors that recur in deep locations, and deeply situated tumors. The group with superficial tumors that subsequently did not recur in deep locations had a significantly better 4-year survival rate than did the other two groups (65% versus 34% and 40%, respectively). Patients with distally located tumors had a better 5-year survival rate than did patients with proximally located tumors (73% versus 28%). Local recurrence was found in 51% of patients who had a "complete" excision. Patients with superficial tumors had a higher local recurrence rate (71%) than did those with deep tumors (41%). Few patients with retroperitoneal tumors were long-term survivors; the 5-year survival rate was 14%.