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Oncology Pharmacy Consults:
Advances in Soft-Tissue Sarcoma

INTRODUCTION

Soft-tissue sarcomas (STSs) are a heterogeneous collection of rare tumors arising from mesenchymal cells.1 They are difficult to diagnose, since they develop in all parts of the body and include over 50 different histological subtypes.2 STS accounts for about 58% of all sarcomas, with the remainder diagnosed as sarcomas of the bone and viscera.3 Outcomes for patients with STS are poor, and local recurrence and metastases are common. For many decades, there has been little progress in the treatment of patients with STSs and with the identification of biomarkers that could guide treatment advances. However, recently, 4 new agents have been approved for treating patients with high-grade STS, but do not appear to be efficacious in all histological subtypes of STS.1

Diagnosis and Treatment

The symptoms associated with soft-tissue sarcoma (STS) growth vary with the location of the tumor. The predominant feature is size, which can be quite large. Symptoms are often silent or nondescript, such as a mass without pain or vague constitutional symptoms. STSs can appear like other tumor types and encompass many histological variants. Treatment has historically focused on surgery with cytotoxic chemotherapy, although outcomes are generally poor.


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