Li Liu, MD
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

Dear OncoLink "Ask the Experts,"
My husband has a very fast spreading form of cancer — myxofibrosarcoma. He's had one tumor removed and now has another. Can you tell what it is and how to treat?  

Li Liu, MD, OncoLink editorial assistant, responds:

Dear K:
Thank you for your interest and question.

Myxofibrosarcoma is one of the most common sarcomas in the extremities of the adult, especially elderly patients. It may also arise in the head and neck region. It has distinct features under the microscope. It commonly grows in a nodular pattern. Tumor cells are round and without distinct cell margins. According to the number of cells involved and appearance of cells under the microscope, myxofibrosarcoma can be divided into low-grade and high-grade. Low-grade myxofibrosarcoma has lower tendency for distant spread (metastasis). However, it tends to become progressively higher grade in recurrences (Pathology International, 47:161-165, 1997).

Wide surgical excision of the primary lesion is the treatment of choice for most patients with myxofibrosarcoma. Radiation therapy may be added in cases of microscopic or gross residual disease, recurrent disease, and in high-grade lesions and advanced-stage disease. The role of chemotherapy is not well defined.

Proper follow-up is necessary to detect local recurrence early and to avoid gradual tumor progression to a higher-grade sarcoma that may then spread. You should discuss treatment options with his oncologists.