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Soft Tissue Sarcoma

diagnosis · treatment · research

What soft tissue sarcoma is

During gestational development, our tissues and organs are formed from one of the three embryonic layers called the ectoderm, the mesoderm and the endoderm.

From the mesoderm, certain tissues such as muscles, cartilage tissues, joints, bones, connective tissues (e.g. tendons), blood and lymphatic vessels, and fatty tissues are formed. These tissues are themselves made up of cells, which divide regularly in order to replace ageing or dead cells, thereby maintaining the integrity and proper functioning of the body.
This process is regulated by a series of mechanisms that signal to the cell when to start dividing and when to remain stable. When these mechanisms are altered in a cell, it and its descendants begin a process of uncontrolled division that will eventually give rise to a tumour. The disease in which malignant cells develop from any of the cells derived from the mesoderm, with the exception of bone (in which case they would be referred to as osteosarcomas, instead), is called soft tissue sarcoma.

Localisation, diagnosis and treatment

Soft tissue sarcomas can arise in the mesodermal tissues of the extremities (more than half of cases), torso and abdomen, and even the neck and head.

Sometimes sarcomas arise in the gastrointestinal tract; in this case, it would be a very specific type of sarcoma, very different from the rest in terms of growth, prognosis and treatment. These tumours that originate from the gastrointestinal tract are called gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST). 

GIST has undergone a revolution in its diagnosis, morphological and molecular typing, and treatment, being the first of the solid tumours to benefit from targeted, or “à la carte”, treatments. The survival rate of patients with this tumour has changed drastically for the better, with the IVO being one of the centres of reference for the diagnosis and treatment of this rare tumour, which requires a highly specialised approach.

Treatment of soft tissue sarcoma at the IVO

IVO Sarcoma Tumour Committee

The Sarcoma Tumour Committee is made up of a multidisciplinary team of expert professionals.

General and Digestive Surgery Service

The IVO General Surgery Service is guaranteed to offer the best results in the field of the surgical treatment of tumours

Medical Oncology Service

The Service's team of professionals accompanies cancer patients throughout the whole disease process.

Clinical trials

The current way we have of advancing and improving cancer treatment is through what we call "clinical trials".

A clinical trial is a research study carried out on people with the aim of learning more about how the body reacts to certain treatments. These trials generally seek to find drugs that are more effective than the current best therapeutic option for patients, or that have similar efficacy but a better toxicity profile.

Bearing in mind that almost all currently available treatments are the result of clinical research, the importance of clinical trials is obvious.

The IVO has a clinical trials unit for all types of tumours and participates in phase 1-3 studies as well as other types of studies.

Living with soft tissue sarcoma

coping with the diagnosis and receiving treatment and psychological support

Whether you receive the news of an initial diagnosis of cancer or a relapse, coping with cancer can be emotionally overwhelming. Each person has their own way of coping with a soft tissue sarcoma diagnosis, but there are some recommendations that can help you through this process:

  • Maintain communication and the company of family and friends, the people closest to the patient, who can provide a support network throughout the process
  • Talk to other people who have survived cancer or who are in the same situation. There are many local and national associations and support groups. The Spanish Association Against Cancer (Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer) is perhaps the best-known one.
  • Inform yourself in order to make the best decisions about treatment and medical professionals.

Early Diagnosis

Nuclear Medicine


Radiation Therapy