Alveolar Soft Part Sarcoma

What are alveolar soft part sarcomas?

Alveolar soft part sarcoma (ASPS) is a malignant soft tissue tumor — a tumor that starts in the soft connective tissues of the body such as fat, muscles or nerves. ASPS is slow-growing and usually starts in the legs or arms, although it can also be found in the head and neck. It can spread to other parts of the body and tends to come back years later. Alveolar soft part sarcoma is very rare in children and, because ASPS is slow-growing, it may be present for a while before you or your child notice any symptoms. The cause of alveolar soft part sarcoma is unknown but may be connected to genes. Alveolar soft part sarcoma is a serious condition requiring surgical removal of the tumor and, in some cases, radiation. Once the tumor is removed, children will need to attend ongoing survivorship follow-up care because the tumor can return.

What are the symptoms of alveolar soft part sarcoma?

Because these tumors affect soft tissues, which are elastic and easily moved, a tumor may exist for a long time before being discovered, growing very large and pushing aside surrounding tissue.

The most common alveolar soft part sarcoma symptoms include:

  • painless swelling or lump
  • pain or soreness caused by compressed nerves or muscles
  • limping or other difficulty using the legs and feet
  • diminished range of motion in the affected area

How we care for alveolar soft part sarcoma

Children and teens with alveolar soft part sarcoma are treated at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center through our Bone and Soft Tissue Tumors Program. Our integrated pediatric oncology program offers the combined expertise of a leading cancer center and a world-renowned children’s hospital.