Liposarcoma is a rare type of cancer that begins in the fat cells. Liposarcoma is considered a type of soft tissue sarcoma.

Liposarcomas can occur in fat cells in any part of the body, but most occur in the muscles of the limbs or in the abdomen. Liposarcoma occurs most often in older adults, though it can occur at any age.

Treatment for liposarcoma typically involves surgery to remove the cancer. Other treatments, such as radiation therapy, may also be used.

  • Teamwork. At Mayo Clinic, oncologists, radiation oncologists, general surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, pathologists and radiologists work as a multidisciplinary team to care for people with liposarcoma. Other professionals are included as needed.
  • Experience. Liposarcoma is an uncommon type of cancer. Mayo Clinic doctors have extensive experience treating liposarcoma.

    Each year, more than 1,800 people with soft tissue sarcomas, including liposarcoma, receive care at Mayo Clinic.

  • A full range of treatment options to consider. Mayo Clinic doctors will work with you to review all of your treatment options and choose the treatment that best suits your needs and goals. The range of treatments offered to people with liposarcoma includes surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
  • Comprehensive cancer center. Mayo Clinic Cancer Center meets strict standards for a National Cancer Institute comprehensive cancer center, which recognizes scientific excellence and a multidisciplinary approach to cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

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

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit medical institution that reinvests all earnings into improving medical practice, research and education. We're constantly involved in innovation and medical research, finding solutions to improve your care and quality of life. Your doctor or someone on your medical team is likely involved in research related to your condition.

Our patients tell us that the quality of their interactions, our attention to detail and the efficiency of their visits mean health care — and trusted answers — like they've never experienced.

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Tests and procedures used to diagnose liposarcoma include:

  • Imaging tests. Your doctor may recommend imaging tests to determine the size and extent of your liposarcoma. Tests may include X-ray, CT scan and MRI.
  • Removing a sample of tissue for testing. During a biopsy procedure, your doctor removes a small sample of tissue to test for cancer cells. Your tumor's location determines how the tissue sample is removed.
  • Using advanced lab tests to determine the kinds of cells involved in the cancer. Mayo Clinic pathologists are skilled in using advanced technology to examine tissue samples and gather information critical to determining the best treatment options for your cancer.

    Specialized laboratory testing may include immunohistochemistry, cytogenetic analysis, fluorescence in situ hybridization and molecular genetic testing.

Treatments for liposarcoma include:

  • Surgery. The goal of surgery is to remove all of the cancer cells. Whenever possible, surgeons work to remove the entire liposarcoma. If a liposarcoma grows to involve nearby organs that may not be possible. In those situations, surgeons remove as much of the cancer as possible.
  • Radiation therapy. Radiation therapy uses powerful energy beams, such as X-rays, to kill cancer cells. Radiation may be used after surgery to kill any cancer cells that remain. Radiation may also be used before surgery to shrink a tumor in order to make it more likely that surgeons can remove the entire tumor.
  • Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Not all types of liposarcoma are sensitive to chemotherapy drugs. Careful analysis of your cancer cells by an expert pathologist can determine whether chemotherapy is likely to help you.

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.

At Mayo Clinic in Arizona, specialists in oncology, radiation oncology, general surgery and orthopedic surgery care for people with liposarcoma. Other experts are included 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.

At Mayo Clinic in Florida, specialists in oncology, radiation oncology, general surgery and orthopedic surgery care for people with liposarcoma. Other experts are included 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.

At Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, specialists in oncology, radiation oncology, general surgery and orthopedic surgery care for people with liposarcoma. Other experts are included 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.

See information on patient services at the three Mayo Clinic locations, including transportation options and lodging.

Mayo Clinic doctors and scientists are studying new ways to diagnose and treat liposarcoma.

Cancer research is conducted in coordination with the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center. The Mayo Clinic Cancer Center receives funding from the National Cancer Institute and is designated as a comprehensive cancer center — recognition for an institution's scientific excellence and multidisciplinary resources focused on cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

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

Jun. 04, 2014