• Fibrosarcoma Overview

    Fibrosarcoma is a cancerous tumor that begins in connective tissue, usually found at the ends of bones in the arm and leg and then spreads to other surrounding soft tissue, including fat, muscles, tendons, nerves, joint tissue, blood vessels and other fibrous tissue. These tumors commonly affect either a lower leg or an arm, but can also develop in the trunk. There are two forms of fibrosarcoma: Infantile or congenital fibrosarcoma—the most common soft-tissue sarcoma found in children under one year of age – and adult-type fibrosarcoma—which occurs in older children and adolescents.

    Fibrosarcoma Treatment at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's

    Patients with fibrosarcoma are treated at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center through the Bone & Soft Tissue Tumor Program. Continue reading to learn more about fibrosarcoma or visit the Bone & Soft Tissue Tumor Program homepage to learn about our expertise.

    Symptoms & Diagnosis

    Fibrosarcomas can sometimes grow quite large before symptoms are noticed. Symptoms depend on the size, location and spread of the tumor, but can include:

    • A painless or tender mass in an extremity or the trunk
    • Pain or soreness caused by compressed nerves or muscles

    A physician may order a number of different tests to diagnose fibrosarcoma, including:

    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) 
    • Bone scan
    • Computerized tomography (CT or CAT) scan 
    • Complete blood count
    • Biopsy 
    • Lumbar puncture (spinal tap)

    After all tests are completed, doctors will be able to outline the best treatment options.

    Treatment & Care Options

    • Surgery may be all that’s needed to treat infantile fibrosarcoma. A limb-sparing procedure is often opted for since local recurrence is not believed to worsen a child’s prognosis. 
    • Chemotherapy is very effective with this type of tumor and may be used with infants if surgical removal of the tumor is not possible.
    • Radiation therapy is not used for infantile fibrosarcoma.

    Progressive or Recurrent Disease

    Treatment for recurrent fibrosarcoma may include surgery followed by radiation therapy (if not previously given) or surgery to remove the limb (if radiation has already been given). Clinical trials of new chemotherapy combinations and targeted therapies may be considered.

    Long-term Outlook

    The long-term outlook for fibrosarcoma depends on the extent of the disease, size and location of the tumor, and whether it has spread to other parts of the body. The five-year survival rate ranges from 50 percent to 90 percent, depending on the type (infantile or adult-type), the size and the location.  Prompt medical attention and aggressive therapy are important for the best prognosis.