Malignant Soft Tissue Tumors

Malignant soft tissue tumors are called soft tissue sarcomas. They are rare and account for less than 1% of all cancers. Management is complicated and often involves doctors from multiple specialties. A combination of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy is often used to get the highest likelihood of cure. Surgeons at GDO are regional experts in the surgical management of soft tissue sarcoma. Experience is important to ensure optimal outcomes. GDO surgeons perform the highest volume of sarcoma surgery in the DFW area. Quality outcomes with functional limbs are the expectation.

There are many subtypes of sarcoma including liposarcoma, fibrosarcoma, synovial sarcoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, malignant fibrous histiocytoma, and pleomorphic sarcoma.


Physical exam and evaluation by an experienced musculoskeletal tumor surgeon are required. In addition, imaging is necessary to diagnose a malignant soft tissue tumor. X-ray, ultrasound, and MRI are the tests ordered most frequently. CT scan of the chest is often performed to rule out metastatic disease.


Usually, sarcomas require surgical removal and radiation for local control. Chemotherapy is often offered as an adjuvant treatment depending on the exact type of tumor. A team of specialists including a surgeon, medical oncologist, and radiation oncologist is involved in the treatment process. A low-grade sarcoma may only require surgical excision and observation.


A biopsy is necessary to confirm the presumed diagnosis and subtype of soft tissue sarcoma. This usually done in the setting of a minor outpatient surgery. Tissue may be sent as a frozen section so that the preliminary diagnosis is known the same day. Biopsy of musculoskeletal tumors should be performed by specialists who do this procedure regularly, as an inappropriate biopsy can lead to significant preventable morbidity or severe complications.