Liposarcoma, a type of soft tissue sarcoma, is a cancerous (malignant) tumor that develops from fat cells. Liposarcoma tumors can develop anywhere, but typically appear in the deep fat tissues of the limbs or abdomen in people ages 50 to 65. Although liposarcoma is rare, it's the most common form of soft tissue sarcoma that occurs in adults.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., is ranked among the Best Hospitals for cancer by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., and Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., are ranked high performing for cancer by U.S. News & World Report.

At Mayo Clinic, we assemble a team of specialists who take the time to listen and thoroughly understand your health issues and concerns. We tailor the care you receive to your personal health care needs. You can trust our specialists to collaborate and offer you the best possible outcomes, safety and service.

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Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people. In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

A team of specialists at Mayo Clinic in Arizona works together to identify the appropriate treatment approach for you. Your team may include specialists from hematology-oncology, radiation oncology, general surgery, orthopedic surgery and other areas as needed.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 800-446-2279 (toll-free) 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

A team of specialists at Mayo Clinic in Florida works together to identify the appropriate treatment approach for you. Your team may include specialists from hematology-oncology, radiation oncology, general surgery, orthopedic surgery and other areas as needed.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 904-953-0853 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

A team of specialists at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota works together to identify the appropriate treatment approach for you. Your team may include specialists from hematology, medical oncology, radiation oncology, general surgery, orthopedic surgery, orthopedic oncology and other areas as needed.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 507-538-3270 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

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Mayo Clinic emphasizes a thorough evaluation using the latest technology to diagnose liposarcoma. To make a diagnosis, your doctor reviews your medical history, performs a physical exam, and may order blood and urine tests. Your doctor may also recommend some of the tests below.

Imaging tests

Mayo Clinic has an international reputation for top-quality imaging and rapid test results. Your doctor may recommend one or more of the following imaging tests. In tests that involve radiation, specialists carefully monitor doses to avoid the risk of radiation overexposure.

  • X-rays
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan

Biopsy

Your doctor may remove a small sample of tissue (biopsy) for examination by a pathologist. Mayo Clinic's pathologists are internationally known for their expertise in assessing biopsies. Mayo offers specialized, advanced biopsy tissue staining techniques that require interpretation by expert pathologists, including the following.

  • Immunohistochemistry. This form of tissue staining uses man-made (synthetic) chemicals that help identify proteins associated with sarcomas.
  • Cytogenetic analysis. Based on the analysis of cells, this test identifies whether you have certain abnormal chromosomes that are common in people with sarcomas.
  • Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). This test helps highlight changes in chromosomes that may be helpful in diagnosing sarcomas.
  • Molecular genetic testing. This test looks for specific genes that change location (translocation) or gene mutations.

Doctors will determine the extent of the cancer and whether it has spread — a process called staging. The cancer stage and other factors will have an impact on which treatment your doctor recommends.

Read more about CT scan, MRI, PET scan and biopsy.

Mayo Clinic's experienced medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and surgeons work together as a team to create a customized liposarcoma treatment plan for you, giving you access to the latest options. Your treatment team may recommend one or more of the following.

Surgery

  • Wide local excision. During surgical excision, your surgeon removes (excises) cancerous tissue, along with a margin of surrounding healthy tissue.
  • Limb-sparing surgery. Your surgeon may use one of several surgical techniques to remove the tumor from your limb without amputation.
  • Amputation. Large tumors or those located in complex regions may require surgery to remove all or part of the limb.

Other treatments

  • Chemotherapy. Your doctor may recommend chemotherapy to shrink the tumor before surgery. Chemotherapy may also be used to try to kill small seeds of cancer in other parts of the body that even advanced imaging tests can't detect.
  • Radiation therapy. Radiation therapy may be given before or after surgery to reduce the risk of recurrence.
  • Experimental treatments. If you're an appropriate candidate, you may be eligible to participate in a clinical trial on an experimental treatment.

Mayo Clinic doctors and scientists are active in the latest research on sarcomas. Mayo Clinic Cancer Center meets strict standards for a National Cancer Institute comprehensive cancer center, which recognizes scientific excellence. You have access to the latest sarcoma diagnosis and treatment advances that result from this research and from Mayo Clinic's participation in clinical trials sponsored by cooperative clinical research trial networks, such as the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology (ACTION).

Publications

See a list of publications by Mayo Clinic doctors on liposarcoma on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

Jun. 27, 2013