Is Liposarcoma Fast Growing?

Reviewed on 4/22/2021

Liposarcoma is a rare type of cancer of the body's connective tissues that typically appear in the thigh or abdominal cavity, but can appear anywhere in the body. There are five different types of liposarcoma and only some of them are fast growing.
Liposarcoma is a rare type of cancer of the body's connective tissues that typically appear in the thigh or abdominal cavity, but can appear anywhere in the body. There are five different types of liposarcoma and only some of them are fast growing.

Liposarcoma is a rare type of cancer that develops in connective tissues that resemble fat cells. It can occur in almost any part of the body, but more than half of liposarcoma cases develop in the thigh, and up to one-third involve the abdominal cavity. 

There are five types of liposarcoma. Some types are fast growing. 

  • Well-differentiated liposarcoma 
    • The most common subtype 
    • Usually starts as a low-grade tumor and tends to be slow growing
    • Often presents as a large painless mass found in deeper tissues and in the space behind the abdominal cavity (retroperitoneum)
  • Dedifferentiated liposarcoma
    • Occurs when a low-grade tumor changes, and the newer cells are high-grade
  • Myxoid liposarcoma
    • Second-most common type of liposarcoma
    • Intermediate to high-grade tumor
  • Round cell liposarcoma 
    • A more aggressive form of myxoid liposarcoma
    • May be faster growing than well-differentiated tumors
    • Often found in the arms or legs
  • Pleomorphic liposarcoma 
    • The rarest subtype, accounts for fewer than 5% of all liposarcomas
    • A high-grade tumor 
    • Can spread very fast
    • Has a high rate of recurrence and poor outcomes

What Are Symptoms of Liposarcoma?

Early in the disease, liposarcoma may have no symptoms. When symptoms of liposarcoma occur, they may include: 

  • A lump that may be soft or firm to the touch
    • Lump is usually painless and slow growing
    • Swelling or numbness in the area around the lump
  • If the tumor is in the abdomen:
    • Abdominal pain or cramping
    • Abdominal swelling
    • Flank (side) pain
    • Constipation 
    • Blood in the stool (may appear as black or tarry stool)
    • Sensation of feeling full sooner than expected after eating
    • Blood in vomit
  • Non-specific symptoms

What Causes Liposarcoma?

The cause of liposarcoma is unknown. Liposarcomas occur most frequently in adults between aged 40 to 65 years. When it does occur in children, it is usually during the teenage years. 

Risk factors for developing liposarcoma include: 

  • Damaged lymph system
  • Certain genetic syndromes
  • Exposure to radiation from treatment for another cancer
  • Exposure to some chemicals

How Is Liposarcoma Diagnosed?

Liposarcoma is diagnosed with a physical examination. Tests used to help confirm the diagnosis include: 

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What Is the Treatment for Liposarcoma?

Treatment for liposarcoma depends on the type, size, and location of the tumor. Treatment for liposarcoma includes: 

  • Surgery
    • Primary liposarcomas that have not yet spread to other organs are mainly treated surgically with removal of the tumor and a wide margin of healthy surrounding tissue
    • Limb amputation is needed to completely remove the cancer in about 5% of cases
    • Complete surgical removal of tumors within the abdomen is difficult
  • Combination of surgery and radiation therapy
    • Radiation therapy may be used before, during, or after surgery to destroy tumor cells and reduce the chance of the tumor recurring in the same location
    • The combination of surgery and radiation therapy can prevent tumor recurrence at the surgical site in about 85-90% of cases
  • Chemotherapy
    • May be used in certain situations where patients have a high risk of recurrence or already have widespread disease
      • Erybulin mesylate (Halaven) 
      • Trabectedin (Yondelis) 
  • Investigational therapies: immunotherapy drugs 
    • Checkpoint inhibitors such as ipilimumab (Yervoy), nivolumab (Opdivo), and pembrolizumab (Keytruda) work by blocking specific receptors on cells and releasing a natural brake on immune cells, so they can activate and target cancer-specific cells
    • T cell therapy involves removing normal T cells from the body and modifying them to recognize and attack cancer cells based on specific cell markers 

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Reviewed on 4/22/2021
References
http://sarcomahelp.org/liposarcoma.html

https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/liposarcoma/

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/sarcoma/liposarcoma https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/types/soft-tissue-sarcoma/types/liposarcoma