Last Updated: November 15, 2013

Sample Collection Complete Data Publicly Available
Selected Selected

What is sarcoma?

The term “sarcoma” encompasses a broad family of rare cancers that can affect soft tissue or bone throughout the body, and sometimes both.1 Sarcoma cases constitute about 15 percent of all cancers in children, but are much rarer in adults and make up only about one percent of adult cancer cases.2

In 2012, it was estimated that about 11,280 Americans would be diagnosed with soft tissue sarcomas and that approximately one third of those people would not survive. In addition, an estimated 2,890 Americans would be diagnosed with bone sarcomas, and approximately half were not expected to survive.1

However, the exact number of people affected is unknown because sarcoma can be misdiagnosed due to being difficult to distinguish from other health problems. Plus, there are often few, if any, symptoms at early stages.1

TCGA will be focusing its studies on seven sarcoma subtypes:

  • Dedifferentiated liposarcoma
  • Desmoid sarcoma
  • Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor
  • Myxofibrosarcoma
  • Synovial sarcoma
  • Undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma.
  • Uterine and non-uterine leiomyosarcoma

View additional information on soft tissue sarcoma.

Sarcoma is part of an effort to characterize rare tumor types. Read more about the Rare Tumor Projects.

What types of discoveries about sarcoma do The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) researchers hope to make?

  • Identify molecular markers as well as specific genes, regions and pathways associated with tumor growth and progression in multiple sites, as well as tumor response and resistance to treatment
  • Analyze characteristics of tumors based on their location in the body and how they develop
  • Compare initial and recurrent sarcomas
  • Examine the implications of recurring tumors in one part of the body as opposed to multiple places in the body

Where can I find more information about the TCGA Research Network’s studies or studies using TCGA data?

View a list of TCGA scientific publications.

Where can I find clinical trials for sarcoma that are supported by the National Cancer Institute (NCI)?

View a list of NCI-supported adult soft tissue sarcoma and child soft tissue sarcoma clinical trials that are now accepting patients.

Selected References

1A snapshot of sarcoma. (Oct 2011) National Cancer Institute. US Department of Health and Human Services.

2Sarcoma. (Dec 2011) American Society of Clinical Oncology.