Liposarcoma is a soft tissue cancer that develops in the fat tissue found throughout the body. Liposarcomas make up about 25% of soft tissue sarcomas. Adults between the ages of 40 and 60 are most at risk of developing this cancer. No specific cause has been identified for the development of this sarcoma. Liposarcoma is divided into 4 subtypes:
Well-differentiated liposarcoma: the most common subtype. It is generally a slow-growing, less aggressive tumor.
Dedifferentiated liposarcoma: this subtype is aggressive and has the potential to spread to other parts of the body and cause metastases.
Myxoid liposarcoma: this subtype is aggressive and has the potential to develop metastases.
Pleomorphic liposarcoma: this subtype is very rare but considered the most aggressive of the four subtypes.
Symptoms and Signs
About half of liposarcomas are located in the thigh and a third in the retroperitoneal space (retro-abdominal). These tumors most often present as a non-painful, progressive mass or an abdominal mass. In the abdomen, liposarcomas can reach very large sizes before they are discovered.
When a liposarcoma is suspected, the initial evaluation includes a CT scan or MRI. The diagnosis is confirmed by a biopsy of the suspected area. Often, when a well-differentiated liposarcoma is suspected on imaging, a complete excision of the mass can be performed without a biopsy. The investigation may be complemented by a chest CT scan.
When a liposarcoma is localized, the treatment of choice is surgery to remove all of it. In some cases of well-differentiated liposarcomas, simple observation may be offered. In some cases, radiation therapy before or after surgery may be necessary.
In cases where metastases are found, chemotherapy is offered with the aim of controlling symptoms and disease progression. The preferred agents are: doxorubicin, ifosfamide, eribulin, trabectedin, or dacarbazine. Clinical trials may also be explored.
After surgery, patients with undifferentiated, myxoid, or pleomorphic liposarcomas will be closely monitored due to the risk of recurrence (when the cancer comes back)