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About Sarcoma  > Sarcoma FAQ

About Sarcoma


There are many different types of Sarcomas, which are classified according to the primary affected tissue. These include soft tissue sarcomas and bone sarcomas (cartilage sarcomas although not strictly bone are classified with the bone sarcomas). 

Although the list is not exhaustive, bone sarcomas include; osteosarcoma (bone), chondrosarcoma (cartilage) and Ewings sarcoms (immature nerve tissue, usually in bone marrow) 

Soft tissue sarcomas include; liposarcoma (fat), fibrosarcoma (connective tissue), angiosarcoma (blood vessels), leiomyosarcoma (smooth muscle), rhabdomyosarcoma (skeletal muscle), lymphangiosarcoma (lymph vessles), neurofibrosarcoma (peripheral nerves) synovial sarcoma (synovial tissue). Kaposi sarcoma which is common in immunospressed patients is not a true sarcoma in that it is of epithelial origin. 

In addition to being named based on the tissue of origin, sarcomas are also assigned a grade (low, intermediate, or high) based on defined pathological characteristics Low grade sarcomas are usually treated surgically, although sometimes radiation therapy or chemotherapy are used. Intermediate and high grade sarcomas are more frequently treated with a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy Since higher grade tumors are more likely to undergo metastasis (invasion and spread to regional and distant sites), they are treated more aggressively. The recognition that some sarcomas are sensitive to chemotherapy improved the survival of some patients. For example, in the era before chemotherapy, long term survival for patients with localized osteosarcoma was only approximately 20%, but now has risen to 60-70%.


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: