Sarcomas are tumors or abnormal growths of soft tissue or bone. More frequently, however, sarcomas arise from soft tissue, which can originate anywhere in the body.
Within soft tissue sarcoma, there are more than 70 subtypes, according to Kenneth Cardona, MD, from the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. In this video, he explains that each one is unique because these subtypes differ in behavior as well as molecular and genetic profiles. These are a few reasons why developing targeted therapy that encompasses all types of sarcoma is incredibly difficult.
Nevertheless, researchers are moving in the right direction. Dr. Cardona says that many scientists are working on identifying new agents and targeted therapies that will attack the tumor not only locally but systemically as well.
Also, during the past two decades, several advances have significantly improved the quality of life of some patients with sarcoma. In particular, the use of limb-sparing surgery, which involves removing a portion of the tumor with surrounding structures and treating the patient with radiation before or after the operation, has been beneficial. This approach helps preserve mobility and, for example, allows patients who are athletes to continue being active after treatment.
In conclusion, Dr. Cardona says that there is still a long way to go in terms of sarcoma research, but he believes progress is being made.