(Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma)
sarcoma, formerly known as Malignant
Fibrous Histiocytoma, is a rare disease. It is a
type of malignant tumor that usually develops in the fat or muscle tissue. Pleomorphic sarcomas tend to grow
very slowly and remain completely asymptomatic (does not cause physical symptoms) until the cancer begins to
spread to other organs in the body. Although Fibrous Histiocytoma tends to appear
in the extremities, it is likely to occur in the torso or/and neck. Pleomorphic sarcoma diagnosed in its
early stages is often treated with a combination of surgery and radiation therapy. In most cases this
combination is sufficient to eradicate the cancer from the body.
Pleomorphic sarcoma is classified into different types depending on the affected tissue: liposarcoma, which are
tumors that arise in in fat cells in deep soft tissue
of the limbs or abdomen; and malignant fibrous
histiocytomas (MFH), which is characterized by a mass that usually develops in the skeletal muscle. Both
Liposarcoma and malignant fibrous histiocytoma are most commonly seen in people ages 50 to 65. The most important risk
factor for the development of these two malignancies is genetic.
Liposarcomas tend to develop in the back of the thighs or near the groin, as well as in the abdominal area. The
onset of symptoms can be occurrence of a mass which grows large enough to put pressure on nerves or the
gastrointestinal tract. As the disease worsens, numbness in the leg, fatigue, abdominal pain, swelling, and nausea
may occur. Sometimes a pleomorphic sarcoma may occur in the subuctaneous layers of the adipose tissue which are
very close to the skin, and thus cause subcutaneous tumors. These cancers may become visible and palpable over the
years, and having soft painless nodules.
The appearance of malignant fibrous histiocytomas (MFH) is usually in the thigh or arm. They grow very slowly in
deep muscle tissue near the bone. Although rare, a MFH can occur in soft tissue or epithelial linings around the
kidney, bladder, stomach, or heart. A patient with a malignant fibrous histiocytomas may also feel a hard mass under the
skin, and experience fatigue, nausea and weight loss in advanced stages MFH.
Early detection and effective treatment are important not only to eradicate the tumor but also to prevent serious
health complications. A physical exam helps the health care provider to start the diagnosis and evaluate the
patient, and take diagnostic imaging of the affected body part for analysis. Once the tumor is found, a biopsy is
recommended to determine if it is a benign tumor or cancerous mass (cancer). After confirmation of diagnosis, other diagnostic procedures are performed to
determine if the cancer has already spread in the body.
treatment includes in most
cases surgical intervention. The main objective of the surgeon is to remove the entire tumor before it
spreads to other organs of the body. If the cancer persists after surgery, a series of radiation treatment may be administered. Chemotherapy is sometimes given to certain patients, but it
has not proved to be effective against Pleomorphic Sarcoma (Malignant Fibrous