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Pediatric Soft Tissue Sarcoma

Our Approach

At MD Anderson's Children's Cancer Hospital, we know your child's health and well being are your number one concern. Our renowned experts customize your child's care for soft tissue sarcoma, utilizing the most advanced treatments and techniques with the least impact on your child's growing body.

Because soft tissue sarcomas are rare, most physicians have little or no experience in diagnosing and treating them. As part of one of the world's most active cancer centers, Children's Cancer Hospital has remarkable experience and skill in these types of cancer. This can make a difference in your child's outcome.

Customized Care

A team of specially trained physicians follows your child throughout treatment, all the way to survivorship. They communicate closely with each other, and with you, to ensure comprehensive, personalized care. They are supported by full complement of health care professionals dedicated to your child's treatment, including nurses, physician assistants, therapists and others.

Children's Cancer Hospital offers clinical trials for innovative new treatments for soft tissue sarcoma. Behind the scenes we are working on groundbreaking basic science research to change the future of pediatric cancer.

Treating the Whole Child

Children's Cancer Hospital is designed just for children, with a full range of services and amenities that help make the child and family's experience as comfortable as possible. We go beyond medical care to deliver a comprehensive experience that treats the whole child.

And at Children's Cancer Hospital, your child benefits from the resources and expertise of one of the nation's top cancer centers.

If your child has been diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma, we're here to help. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

Why Choose MD Anderson?

  • One of few medical teams dedicated to pediatric soft tissue sarcoma
  • Extensive expertise in rare cancers
  • Latest diagnostic tools, specialized pathologists
  • Advanced soft tissue sarcoma surgical procedures, skilled surgeons
  • Clinical trials of new soft tissue sarcoma therapies
  • Comprehensive support services for children and family-centered care

Pediatric Soft Tissue Sarcoma Knowledge Center

Treatment at MD Anderson

Childhood soft tissue sarcoma is treated in our: 

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Pediatric Soft Tissue Sarcoma Facts

Soft tissue sarcomas are a group of cancers that begin in areas that surround, connect or support the body’s structure or organs. This includes:

  • Fat
  • Cartilage
  • Connective tissue
  • Muscles
  • Skin
  • Nerves
  • Tendons
  • Joints
  • Blood vessels
  • Lymph vessels

The most common locations of soft tissue sarcomas are the arms and legs. But they also can grow in the head and neck area, chest, abdomen and pelvis.

Soft tissue sarcoma can occur in children and adults. This information is about soft tissue sarcoma in children.

Soft Tissue Sarcoma Types

Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common childhood soft tissue sarcoma. It grows in the muscles attached to the skeleton. According to the American Cancer Society, about 340 children in the nation are diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma each year. It makes up 3% of childhood cancers and 2% of adolescent cancers.

Other childhood soft tissue tumors are sometimes called non-rhabdomyosarcoma soft tissue sarcomas (NRSTS). This group of cancers makes up about 4% of pediatric cancers.

Many types of soft tissue sarcoma exist. They are classified by what part of the body they started in. The cells in each type are different. 

These are the most common soft tissue sarcomas in children: 

Fat tissue tumors: Liposarcoma in children is usually low grade and grows slowly. The most common type is called myxoid liposarcoma.

Bone and cartilage tumors: Extraskeletal chondrosarcoma develops in the cartilage of the bone and is more common in adults.

Connective Tissue Tumors

  • Desmoid tumor or aggressive fibromatosis usually grows slowly and is unlikely to spread to other parts of the body. Children with the genetic condition familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) are at higher risk.
  • Fibrosarcoma usually is found in children under 4, especially infants. Sometimes it is found in an ultrasound during pregnancy. Tumors tend to be large and grow quickly, but they usually do not spread.

Muscle tumors: Leiomyosarcoma is associated with the Epstein-Barr virus in children with HIV/AIDS. Survivors of retinoblastoma are also at higher risk.

Skin tumors (also called fibrohistiocytic tumors): Plexiform fibrohistiocytic tumors begin as a painless mass on or under the skin of the arm, hand or wrist. Undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma tends to develop in the arms or legs of children who have had radiation therapy or retinoblastoma.

Nerve tumors: Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors grow in the covering of nerves outside the brain and spinal cord. Children with the genetic condition neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) are at higher risk.

Tumors of unknown origin: Synovial sarcoma tumors are found in the joints of the legs or arms, or in the head, neck or trunk. Children under 10 with small tumors have the best chance for successful treatment.

Blood Vessel Tumors

  • Angiosarcomas grow quickly in lymph or blood vessels.
  • Epithelioid hemangioendotheliomas usually develop in infants in the liver. They usually are benign (not cancer).

If your child has been diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma, we're here to help. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center