Fibrosarcoma | Diagnosis & Treatment

How is fibrosarcoma diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination of your child, diagnostic procedures for fibrosarcoma may include:

Multiple imaging studies of the tumor and sites of possible metastasis, such as:

How is fibrosarcoma staged?

Once fibrosarcoma has been diagnosed, the tumor is staged. This process indicates how far the tumor has spread from its original location. The stage of a tumor suggests which form of treatment is most appropriate, and gives some indication of prognosis.

A fibrosarcoma may be localized, meaning it has not spread beyond the bone where it arose. Its growth may also reach beyond nearby tissues, or metastatic, meaning it has spread to lungs, bones other than the bone that the tumor originated in or to other organs or structures of the body. Tumors found during infancy are usually not metastatic.

What are the treatment options for fibrosarcoma?

Fibrosarcoma treatments have improved dramatically in recent years, particularly for patients with localized disease. Most of the time, there are two components in treating children with newly diagnosed fibrosarcoma: local control, which involves treating the tumor itself, usually through surgery, radiation, or a combination; and systemic therapy, which treats any tumor cells throughout the body, usually through chemotherapy. Fibrosarcoma can usually only be cured by using local control together with systemic therapy.

Chemotherapy

Treatment for fibrosarcoma almost always begins with chemotherapy, which aims to destroy or shrink cancer cells and prevent them from spreading. Most children with fibrosarcoma respond very well to chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy is usually given over a period of a few days every two weeks for about 12 weeks before it is time for local control of the main tumor. After surgery and/or radiation for local control, chemotherapy is continued for another 4-6 months in order to eliminate all the cancerous cells in the body. We give chemotherapy cycles every two weeks in fibrosarcoma because studies show that this schedule (called “interval compression”) improves outcomes for children with localized fibrosarcoma.f

The typical chemotherapy regimen for a child with newly diagnosed fibrosarcoma involves medicines given intravenously (or “IV”) as a direct injection into the blood stream. This chemotherapy used to be given during overnight stays in the hospital. Now through our home hydration program, most children are able to receive this regimen as an outpatient.

While chemotherapy can be quite effective in treating certain cancers, the drugs cannot differentiate normal healthy cells from cancer cells. As a result, there can be adverse side effects during treatment. Being able to anticipate these side effects can help the care team, child, and family prepare (and, in some cases, prevent) these complications from occurring, if at all possible.

Surgery at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Hospital Cancer and Blood Disorders Center is personalized to help your child achieve the best functional and cosmetic outcome and to allow them to remain active and healthy. Depending on the type of surgery your child receives, your child may have to avoid certain physical activities following treatment.

What is the long-term outlook for children with fibrosarcoma?

Prognosis for fibrosarcoma greatly depends on:

  • the extent of the disease
  • the size and location of the tumor
  • presence or absence of metastasis
  • the tumor's response to therapy
  • the age and overall health of the child
  • your child's tolerance of specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • new developments in treatment