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Myxoid liposarcoma (06).JPG
Micrograph of myxoid liposarcoma. H&E stain.
Specialty Oncology

Liposarcoma is a cancer that arises in fat cells in deep soft tissue, such as that inside the thigh or in the retroperitoneum.[1] Liposarcoma is a rare type of cancer that bears a resemblance to fat cells when examined under a microscope.[2]

They are typically large bulky tumors, and tend to have multiple smaller satellites that extend beyond the main confines of the tumor.

Liposarcomas, like all sarcomas, are rare.[3]

Signs and symptoms[edit]

Left leg swelling caused by underlying liposarcoma

Patients usually note a deep seated mass in their soft tissue. Only when the tumor is very large do symptoms of pain or functional disturbances occur.

Retroperitoneal tumors may present themselves with signs of weight loss and emaciation and abdominal pain. These tumors may also compress the kidney or ureter leading to kidney failure.


CT image showing a lesion that proved to be a liposarcoma.

The diagnosis is established by histologic examination of the tissue, i.e., biopsy or excision. Lipoblasts are often present; these are cells with an abundant clear multi-vacuolated cytoplasm and an eccentric darkly staining nucleus that is indented by the vacuoles.


Several subtypes of liposarcoma exist:

  • Well-differentiated liposarcoma, synonymous with atypical lipomatous tumor—the former term is used almost exclusively for lesions in the retroperitoneum, while the latter is used for lesions arising elsewhere
  • Dedifferentiated liposarcoma—well-differentiated (high-grade) liposarcoma adjacent to a more poorly differentiated tumor
  • Myxoid/round cell liposarcoma.
  • Pleomorphic liposarcoma.


Treatment of liposarcoma most often consists of surgical removal of the tumor and occasionally radiation therapy as well.[medical citation needed]


The prognosis varies depending on the site of origin, the type of cancer cell, the tumor size, the depth, and proximity to lymph nodes. Well-differentiated liposarcomas treated with surgery, intra-operative distilled water lavage[4] and radiation have a low recurrence rate (about 10%) and rarely metastasize.[5]

Five-year survival rates vary from 100% to 56% based on histological subtype.[5]


Most frequent in middle-aged and older adults (age 40 and above), liposarcomas are the second most common of all soft-tissue sarcomas following malignant fibrous histiocytomas. Annually 2.5 cases occur per million population.

Society and culture[edit]

Notable cases[edit]


The Liposarcoma Genome Project at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center is a liposarcoma research initiative currently researching liposarcoma to learn more about its genetic drivers and design effective new treatment options for patients. The research project is led by Dr. Bradley Bernstein[6], head of the Bernstein Laboratory located at the Richard B. Simches Research Center. Dr. Bradley Bernstein was written about by Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institute of Health, for his work in the field of epigenetics[7]. Learn more about the Liposarcoma Genome Project research findings and liposarcoma breakthroughs in the recent article published by Massachusetts General Hospital.[8]

The Wendy Walk is an organization devoted to funding research for liposarcoma.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dei Tos AP (August 2000). "Liposarcoma: new entities and evolving concepts". Ann Diagn Pathol. 4 (4): 252–66. doi:10.1053/adpa.2000.8133. PMID 10982304. 
  2. ^ Bell, Teresa (October 2012). "What is Liposarcoma?". The Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative. Retrieved 2015-04-22. 
  3. ^ Goldstein-Rice, E (2008). "The Importance of Treatment at a Specialty Center for Sarcomas". ESUN. 
  4. ^ Song CH, Chai FY, Saukani MF, Singh H, Jiffre D (July 2013). "Management and Prevention of Recurrent Paratesticular Liposarcoma". Malays J Med Sci. 20 (4): 95–97. PMC 3773360Freely accessible. PMID 24044004. 
  5. ^ a b Gebhardt, M; Buecker, PJ (2004). "Liposarcoma". ESUN. 
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^

External links[edit]

External resources