There are more than 50 unique types of sarcoma, most of which develop in soft tissues or bones. Soft tissue sarcomas are by far the most common. Osteosarcomas (sarcomas of the bone) are the second most common, while sarcomas that develop in the internal organs, such as the ovaries or lungs, are diagnosed least frequently.
Sarcoma types and incidence rates
The most common types of soft tissue sarcoma include:
- Angiosarcomas, which form in blood and lymph vessels
- Fibrosarcomas, which start in tissues that surround ligaments
- Leiomyosarcomas, which originate in smooth muscles
- Rhabdomyosarcomas, which start in skeletal muscles
- Liposarcomas, which develop in fatty tissues
- Synovial sarcomas, which start in tissues that surround joints
Most types of osteosarcoma are intramedullary osteosarcomas, which means that they develop in the medullary cavity of a bone. There are also juxtacortical osteosarcomas, which develop on the outer surfaces of bones.
Some types of sarcoma cannot be neatly classified as either soft tissue sarcomas or osteosarcomas. Extraskeletal osteosarcomas, for instance, are technically considered to be osteosarcomas, but actually develop in soft tissues. Ewing’s sarcoma is another a unique type of sarcoma that usually originates in bones but can also develop in soft tissues.
Treatment by type of sarcoma
The type of sarcoma that a person has can influence his or her treatment plan. For instance, certain medications that can be highly effective for treating soft tissue sarcomas may be less useful for treating osteosarcomas.
At Moffitt Cancer Center, patients with all types and stages of sarcoma can consult with our experienced multispecialty team. Our specialized Sarcoma Program does not require physician referrals. To request an appointment, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online.