Liposarcoma develops in fat cells and is the most common form of soft tissue cancer in adults. It can grow in fatty tissue anywhere on the body, but most often occurs on the abdomen, arms and legs. There are four main types of liposarcoma:
- Well-differentiated liposarcoma. The most common subtype, it typically begins as a low-grade (slow growing) tumor and often has a positive prognosis.
- Myxoid liposarcoma. The second most common subtype, myxoid liposarcomas are well-defined and also have a positive prognosis.
- Dedifferentiated liposarcoma. This describes a low-grade tumor that changes and begins to spread more rapidly.
- Pleomorphic liposarcoma. This is the rarest form of liposarcoma and is usually fast-growing.
What are the symptoms of liposarcoma?
Liposarcoma doesn’t always produce noticeable symptoms. When it does, symptoms may include:
- A lump that can be seen or felt underneath the skin
- Pain or swelling around the lump
- Weakness of the affected limb
- Dark-colored or bloody stool
- Abdominal pain and swelling
- Loss of appetite or a feeling of fullness
Researchers aren’t sure what causes liposarcoma, but adults over age 50 make up the majority of patients. Prolonged exposure to certain chemicals and a history of radiation therapy may also increase an individual’s risk for liposarcoma.
How is liposarcoma treated?
Surgery to remove the tumor is the primary treatment for liposarcoma. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy may also be performed following surgery to attack any remaining cancer cells, or prior to the procedure to help shrink the tumor and make it easier to remove. As is the case with most other cancers, early detection of liposarcoma is key to successful treatment.
Moffitt’s approach to liposarcoma
Moffitt Cancer Center’s Sarcoma Program is home to a multispecialty team that focuses exclusively on bone and soft tissue cancers. Here, liposarcoma patients have access to a full spectrum of care, including individualized treatment regimens, trailblazing clinical trials and compassionate supportive care services.