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Liposarcomas develop in fatty tissue and account for 15 percent to 25 percent of the estimated 13,000 soft tissue sarcomas diagnosed each year. Liposarcomas are categorized by several subtypes, each with differing risk profiles. The three major groups are dedifferentiated liposarcoma (DL) , myxoid/round cell liposarcoma (MRCL) and well-differentiated liposarcoma (WDL).

The WDL and MRCL subtypes are typically more serious and sometimes spread to the lungs and liver. The DL subtype, on the other hand, rarely metastasizes and is typically treated with surgery. Most liposarcomas develop in the deep layers of soft tissue and are often mistakenly confused with lipomas, which appear in more superficial soft tissue layers.

Common liposarcoma symptoms

Symptoms vary depending on the location of the tumors. Liposarcomas may cause discomfort and swelling. Tumors that develop in the arms or legs may grow for months or years before they are detected.

Advanced treatments for liposarcoma

Treatments for liposarcoma include:

Chemotherapy: Several chemotherapy drugs may be combined to attack liposarcoma at varying stages. Chemotherapy may be administered before the surgical removal of the tumors.

Surgery:  Surgical resection is typically the first line of treatment for the removal of liposarcomas. Tumors that are difficult to reach or to completely remove may be treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Radiation therapy: Your radiation oncologist may recommend radiation therapy, using a high, targeted dose for concentrated effect on the tumor while reducing the risk of damage to surrounding healthy tissue. Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) may be recommended to help reduce the risk of liposarcoma recurrence.

Targeted drug therapy: Targeted drug therapy is designed to destroy specific molecular targets in tumor cells. It is often combined with chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. The drug pazopanib may be used for certain liposarcoma tumors.


Last Revised: 01/31/2017

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