Modern Therapies Expand Options for Soft-Tissue Sarcomas

Christina T. Loguidice
Published: Thursday, Nov 08, 2018
William D. Tap, MD from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

William D. Tap, MD

Although soft-tissue sarcoma (STS) is seldom diagnosed in adults, the development of several new therapies in recent years for patients with rare subtypes is energizing leaders in the field and underscoring the need for a multidisciplinary approach to care.

panelists provided their insights on establishing an accurate diagnosis of STS and discussed the most recent information surrounding treatment of these tumors and the use of modern therapies for advanced disease. They also provided their perspectives on how to apply the latest data to clinical care.

Diagnostic Challenges

Accurate diagnosis of STS poses a significant challenge. Collectively, these tumors constitute approximately 1% of all adult cancers yet are divided into more than 50 subtypes.4 “If one were to look in the pathology textbooks, there are over 200 types of soft-tissue sarcomas,” Trent said. They represent different kinds of cancer, he said, with fundamental differences in how they present, their biology and metastatic pattern, and how they are treated.

These tumors are also rare. “Benign tumors are 100-fold more common than malignant ones,” Victor Villalobos, MD, PhD, said. This sometimes leads to a false sense of security and, subsequently, an incorrect and potentially harmful treatment approach.

Table. Recent FDA Drug Approvals for STS Subtypes1-3

Table. Recent FDA Drug Approvals for STS Subtypes1-3 To ensure proper treatment, it is essential to accurately determine which sarcoma subtype a patient has. “We need to have an expert pathologist subtype the sarcoma,” Kristen N. Ganjoo, MD, said. “If you don’t have an expert pathologist, the diagnosis is sometimes different than what we actually have.”
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