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 soft tissue sarcoma that doesn’t look like other types of sarcoma under a microscope..

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of undifferentiated sarcoma vary according to the area of the body that is involved. Pain, tenderness 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, or if the tumor occurs in the lungs, it may cause breathing difficulty. The tumor may cause compression on the nerves, resulting in feelings of numbness, tingling or muscle weakness.

Diagnosis of Undifferentiated Sarcoma

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 by a pathologist.

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

Treatment for Undifferentiated Sarcoma

A combination of surgery, radiation and in some situations chemotherapy is most often used.

In some situations, the doctor may recommend proton therapy instead of traditional radiation therapy. Proton therapy targets the tumor while avoiding organs and healthy tissue. This means fewer short-term side effects and long-term complications from radiation. Cincinnati Children’s is one of only a few pediatric hospitals in the country that offers proton therapy.

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

Long-Term Outlook

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.

Last Updated 12/2019

Who treats this.

Our Sarcoma Program is a national leader in providing advanced therapies for children and young adults with tumors of the bone and soft tissues.

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Clinical Trials

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Cincinnati Children's offers cancer research studies for patients who are: 

> Children

> Young adults