Dedifferentiated liposarcoma. Clinicopathologic analysis of 32 cases suggesting a better prognostic subgroup among pleomorphic sarcomas

Am J Surg Pathol. 1994 Dec;18(12):1213-23. doi: 10.1097/00000478-199412000-00004.


Dedifferentiated liposarcoma is uncommon, and only a small number of cases have been documented. We describe the clinicopathologic features in a series of 32 cases. All patients were adults (age range, 37-83 years; median, 67 years); 20 were men and 12 were women. Commonest site was the retroperitoneum (fifteen cases); six cases arose in the limbs, four in the paratesticular region, three in the peritoneal cavity, two on the trunk, and one each in the buttock and larynx. One primary tumor was subcutaneous. Thirty tumors arose de novo (i.e., combined with well-differentiated tumor in the primary lesion), while two developed in recurrences of a previously well-differentiated liposarcoma. The well-differentiated component was most often lipoma-like and typically there was a histologically abrupt transition to spindle celled nonlipogenic tumor. The dedifferentiated component most often resembled either storiform "malignant fibrous histiocytoma" ("MFH") with limited pleomorphism or myxofibrosarcoma (myxoid "MFH"); the latter pattern is rarely otherwise seen in the retroperitoneum. A small number of cases showed appearances reminiscent of myxoid embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma. An unusual feature in three cases was the occurrence of a discontinuous micronodular pattern of dedifferentiation. Average follow-up of 5.6 years (range, 3 months to 33 years) in 27 cases have revealed local recurrence in 14 patients and systemic metastases in only four patients. The primary sites of the metastasising cases were upper back, thigh, retroperitoneum, and paratesticular region. There have been only seven tumor-related deaths. Good prognosis in de novo dedifferentiated liposarcomas seems unrelated to the extent or morphologic pattern of dedifferentiation. However, high mitotic activity in the dedifferentiated component was associated with a more aggressive clinical course. Our study underlines that dedifferentiation in peripherally located or even subcutaneous liposarcomas does occur, albeit rarely, and that dedifferentiated liposarcomas of the limbs may metastasize. The results suggest that dedifferentiated liposarcomas, as a subgroup among the "MFH-like" sarcomas, have a better prognosis than pleomorphic sarcomas as a whole.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Liposarcoma / pathology*
  • Liposarcoma / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Sarcoma / pathology*
  • Sarcoma / physiopathology