Pathophysiology: A soft-tissue sarcoma is a form of sarcoma that develops in connective tissue, though the term is sometimes applied to elements of the soft tissue that are not currently considered connective tissue.
Symptoms: In their early stages, soft-tissue sarcomas usually do not cause symptoms. Because soft tissue is relatively elastic, tumors can grow rather large, pushing aside normal tissue, before they are felt or cause any problems. The first noticeable symptom is usually a painless lump or swelling. As the tumor grows, it may cause other symptoms, such as pain or soreness, as it presses against nearby nerves and muscles.
Treatment: The stage of the sarcoma is based on the size and grade of the tumor, and whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body (metastasized). Treatment options for soft-tissue sarcomas include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Surgery is the most common treatment for soft-tissue sarcomas. It is important to obtain a margin free of tumor to decrease the likelihood of local recurrence and give the best chance for eradication of the tumor.
Statistics: The median survival after development of distant metastases is 11 to 15 months, and 20 to 25 percent of patients are still alive at two to three years. The prognostic factors for more prolonged survival differ from those predicting response to chemotherapy , suggesting that survival is more dependent upon disease biology rather than solely on treatment-associated considerations. Potentially curative options should be sought in appropriate patients so that the opportunity for cure is not overlooked. In selected patients, resection of pulmonary metastases is feasible, with reported five-year survival 25 to 40 percent in brazil.