Soft tissue sarcoma is metastatic if it has spread to areas in the body away from the location of the original tumor.
Soft tissue sarcoma may spread through the bloodstream or lymphatic system to other areas of the body.
Treatment may include surgery where possible, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and other drug treatments, such as targeted therapies.
This article outlines the diagnosis, treatment, and outlook for metastatic soft tissue sarcoma.
Metastatic soft tissue sarcoma is soft tissue sarcoma that has spread to distant areas of the body. Doctors may refer to this as
According to a
Doctors may use a biopsy to diagnose metastatic soft tissue sarcoma. A core biopsy
A core biopsy uses a wide needle to remove
Laboratory tests can help doctors gather specific information about the tissue sample when looking for signs of cancer, including features such as:
- the appearance and number of cells
- certain genes and proteins
- changes in chromosomes
- certain antigens
Doctors may also order the following tests to help them stage cancer and find out if and where it has spread:
- chest X-ray
- blood tests, including a complete blood count and blood chemistry tests
- CT scan or MRI scan to create detailed images of inside the body
- PET scan, which identifies cancerous tumor cells in the body
Along with biopsy results, these tests can help doctors stage cancer and decide on appropriate treatment.
If surgery does not completely remove the cancer, people may also have radiation therapy or chemotherapy to help shrink and destroy the tumors.
Chemotherapy for treating soft tissue sarcoma may include the drugs doxorubicin and ifosfamide. If these are not effective, people may have gemcitabine and docetaxel.
The type of chemotherapy drugs may also depend on the type of sarcoma people have. People with angiosarcomas may have treatment with paclitaxel or docetaxel and vinorelbine.
Targeted therapies specifically target cancer cells to destroy them, which may reduce damage to healthy tissue. Targeted therapy or immunotherapy may benefit people with certain types of soft tissue sarcoma.
Targeted therapy drugs for soft tissue sarcoma
Immunotherapy drugs help the immune system destroy cancer cells better. They include immune checkpoint inhibitors.
Learn more about soft tissue sarcoma treatment here.
A soft tissue sarcoma
As a sarcoma gets bigger, it may press on surrounding nerves, blood vessels, or organs, and people may experience pain or difficulty breathing.
Metastatic cancer may cause additional symptoms,
According to the
The best outlook for a person with metastatic soft tissue sarcoma may be for cancer that has spread to the lungs only. In this case, doctors will remove the metastatic sarcoma completely if they can and treat the primary sarcoma as they would a stage 2 or stage 3 sarcoma.
A relative survival rate suggests how long a person with a particular condition will live after receiving a diagnosis compared with those without the condition.
According to the ACS, the 5-year relative survival rate for people with metastatic soft tissue sarcoma between 2010–2016 was
Other factors also affect outlook, such as:
- the location of metastases and how far the cancer has spread
- tumor grade
- location of the primary tumor
- cancer response to treatment
- age and overall health of the person
Metastatic soft tissue sarcoma means cancer cells from the original tumor have spread to distant areas of the body.
The outlook may depend on various factors, such as where the cancer has spread, tumor grade, treatment response, and overall health.