Undifferentiated Sarcoma

Sarcomas are cancers that begin in the body's connective tissues.

They are often divided into two groups. One group is bone cancer, which begins in the hard part of the bone. The other group is soft tissue sarcomas, which start in muscles, fat, fibrous tissue, blood vessels, nerves, or other supportive tissues of the body.

Some of these rare sarcomas include fibrosarcoma, liposarcoma, leiomyosarcoma, synovial sarcoma, hemangiosarcoma and undifferentiated sarcoma.

Undifferentiated sarcoma is a very rare childhood cancer.

Symptoms of undifferentiated sarcoma vary according to the area of the body that is involved. Pain or swelling in that area may be seen. When the tumor gets large enough, it may start to press on other organs and cause swelling, pain, or compression (blockage).

If other organs are compressed, they may not work as well as they should. For example, if a sarcoma occurs in the abdomen, it may press down on the intestines and cause constipation.

Diagnosis of undifferentiated sarcoma is made by biopsy of the tumor. This is a surgical procedure done under general anesthesia so the child is not conscious and will not feel any pain. A piece of the suspicious bone or tissue is removed and looked at under a microscope.

Additional tests are performed to see if the disease has spread. These may include a skeletal survey (X-rays of all the bones), radioisotope scans, CT scans, MRI and a bone marrow aspirate and biopsy.

No single method of treatment appears to be successful alone. A combination of surgery, chemotherapy and perhaps radiation is most often used.

The child's treatment plan will be based on the location of the tumor, whether the tumor has spread, and whether the tumor was completely removed by surgery.

Cincinnati Children's is an international referral center for the treatment of children and young adults with high-risk and relapsed cancers. Our faculty members lead national efforts in the development of new targeted therapies, immunological approaches, and stem cell transplantation.

For additional information on this topic, contact us at cancer@cchmc.org.

Last Updated 12/2013