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Dec 2017
About Sarcoma  > Sarcoma FAQ

About Sarcoma


The definitive diagnosis is done through a surgical biopsy for a suspicious looking lump, which has been imaged via X -Rays or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). The biopsied the tissue is then analysed by a pathologist.

Since sarcomas are ubiquitous in their site of origin, and are treated with a multimodality treatment (involving multiple teams of doctors), a multidisciplinary approach in the establishment of the accurate diagnosis is therefore mandatory. This includes pathologists, radiologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists and paediatric oncologists (when applicable). 

Ideally, his should be carried out in reference centres for sarcoma and or within reference networks sharing multidisciplinary expertise and treating high number of patients annually. These centres are involved in ongoing clinical trial, in which sarcoma patients enrolment is highly encouraged.This cetralised referral should be pursued from the time of the clinical diagnosis of a suspected sarcoma. In practice, referral of patients with a lesion likely to be a sarcoma would be recommended. This would mean referring all patients with an unexplained deep mass of soft tissue or bone. 

For patients in Australia the reference centres can be found at the Australasian Sarcoma Study Group (ASSG) "Find a sarcoma specialist link" 

In soft tissue sarcomas, MRI is the main imaging modality, although X Rays should be the first step to rule out bone sarcomas.


P.C.W. HOGENDORN (on the behalf of the ESMO/ EUROBONET working group). Bone sarcomas:ESMO; Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. Annals of oncology 21 (supplement 5); v 198-v203, 2010

P.G.Casali and J.Y. Blay (On the behalf of the ESMO/ CONTICANET/ EUROBONET consensus Panel of Experts; Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. Annals of oncology 21 (supplement 5); v 198-v203, 2010

NOTE: The clinical Practice guidelines have been developed following a consensus based on a consensus event organized by the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) in Lugano in 2009. This involved experts from the European sarcoma research groups, sarcoma networks of excellence and ESMO Faculty. CONTICANET (Connective Tissue Cancers NETwork) and EURONET (EuRopean Bone NETwork) also financially supported the consensus process.


Australasian Sarcoma Study Group website: