Sarcoma Treatment Options
treatment depends on many factors such as type, size and location of the tumor, as well as health status of
the patient. Soft tissue sarcoma treatment is mainly determined by the
stage of the cancer, that is, size of
the tumor, its depth in the
tissue, and if the cancer is localized or metastasized: spreading to lymph
nodes or other parts of the body. The most important characteristics the oncologist will consider to determine
the stage of the sarcoma and adopt an appropriate treatment is its
a grade, how abnormal the cells appear under the microscope
and how quickly the tumor seems to
grow and spread into the body.
But in general, sarcoma
treatment options include surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Other options such as target therapy can be added if the medical team estimates it will be helpful in the fight
against the cancer. To consider and recommend the most appropriate therapy, a multidisciplinary team of cancer specialists work
together to identify all criteria and choose the treatment most
suitable for the patient.
– soft tissue sarcoma
treatment can include surgery to remove
superficial cancerous tissue, the entire tumor and surrounding tissue, or the entire organ.
If the entire organ is
removed, reconstructive surgery may be required
subsequently. When it comes to sarcoma bone cancers,
surgery is usually the main treatment, which can be
performed to either remove the cancer or to obtain a biopsy of the tumor. Although biopsy
and surgical treatment are separate procedures, it is
usually planned and performed together, by the same surgeon.
Otherwise, during the biopsy, the sample can be taken in a wrong place, thus cause
problems when the surgeon performs the surgery to remove
the cancer. Although rare, misplaced biopsy may
even make it impossible to remove the
cancer without amputating the
entire diseased limb.
Radiotherapy – depending on the grade or stage of the
therapy can be performed after surgery to treat
a tumor that has not been completely
removed or to kill remaining cancer cells; or before surgery
to reduce the size of the tumor in order to facilitate the surgical procedure for tumors
that are too big or advanced to be surgically removed. The therapy consists of using high-energy radiation X-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, protons, and other sources
to kill cancer cells and to decrease the size of a tumor. Radiation may come from a machine outside the
body (external radiation) or may come
from radioactive material placed inside the patient near the tumor (internal radiation or brachytherapy).
Systemic radiation therapy uses
radioactive substances such as monoclonal antibodies
labeled with radioactivity circulating
in the blood circulation throughout the body. This procedure is
also called irradiation.
Chemotherapy - this is a systematic therapy which can
be given to the patient after surgery or radiation
therapy. Chemotherapy is a
powerful treatment that affects the whole body, even
normal cells that reproduce rapidly, which lead to many side effects in any patient undergoing
the treatment. But chemo drugs,
taken by mouth or injection, can slow and even stop the
progression of tumors and their spread to other parts of the body. Chemotherapy side effects are usually
temporary and healthy cells will
But there is little evidence demonstrating the
efficacy of chemotherapy in treating soft tissue
sarcoma, although it is often part of an aggressive
treatment approach to fight the cancer.
Drugs mainly used to treat bone sarcoma (bone
Targeted therapy: This
is a type of chemotherapy
that specifically targets the genetic and molecular
changes in cancer cells, while doing less damage to healthy
cells. The targeted drugs work differently from standard
chemotherapy and have different side effects.
medications are found to be particularly important in diseases
such as chordoma (a rare type of bone cancer that rises from the skull or
spine) and other bone cancers, where chemotherapy has not been demonstrated
to be ineffective.
stages combined, the overall survival rate of sarcoma at 5 years can be up to 65% in patient who
receive proper care and live a healthy lifestyle. However, this estimate slightly varies from patient to patient, and
some patients become completely free of the cancer.