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Types of Childhood Soft Tissue Sarcomas

  • Soft tissue sarcomas are cancerous tumors that begin in the tissues that connect, support, or surround the body's organs and structures, known as soft tissues. These tissues include muscle, tendon, synovial tissue (around joints), fat, blood vessels, lymph vessels, and nerves.

    There are many different types of soft tissue sarcomas:

    • Adamantinoma is a cancerous tumor found most often in the shin bone (tibia) and jaw bone (mandible).
    • Alveolar soft part sarcoma is a tumor that starts in connective tissue, including fat, muscle, and nerve.
    • Desmoid tumors (also called aggressive fibromytosis) are tumors that form in fibrous tissue that makes up tendons and ligaments.
    • Epithelioid hemangioendothelioma is a rare vascular tumor that sometimes behaves like a cancer but in most cases is benign.
    • Ewing sarcoma is a cancer that grows in bone or soft tissue around bone.
    • Fibrosarcoma is a tumor that originates in connective tissue at the end of bones in the arms or legs and spreads to surrounding soft tissue.
    • Hemangiopericytoma originates in the walls of capillaries, the tiny blood vessels located within the tissues of the body.
    • Inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor are soft tissue masses that can grow in any part of the body.
    • Liposarcoma is a tumor that develops in fat tissue, most often in the abdominal cavity.
    • Peripheral nerve sheath tumor is a tumor that forms in cells that surround nerves.
    • Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common soft tissue sarcoma; it begins in skeletal muscles.
    • Synovial cell sarcoma is a malignant tumor in soft tissues around joints, most commonly the knee.
    • Undifferentiated or spindle cell sarcoma involves the connective tissue; the cells are spindle-shaped when examined under a microscope.

    Soft tissue sarcoma treatment at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's

    Children with soft-tissue sarcomas are treated through the Bone and Soft Tissue Tumor Program at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. Our specialists — including pediatric oncologists, surgical oncologists and radiation oncologists — offer a level of expertise in soft tissue sarcomas rarely seen at other pediatric cancer centers. We provide the full set of options that can be used to treat soft tissue cancers, and our specialists can help you determine which option is best for your child.