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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Epithelioid sarcoma

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Your Question

What is the difference between a epithelioid sarcoma and a lipoma or liposarcoma?

Our Answer

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What is epithelioid sarcoma?

Epithelioid sarcoma is a rare cancer that most often occurs in the soft tissue of the fingers, hands and forearms of young adults.[1]  It may also be found in the legs, trunk, head or neck regions.  It is rare in young children and adults, and it occurs more frequently in men.[2][3]  Epithelioid sarcoma begins as a painless, firm growth or bump that may be accompanied by an open wound (ulceration) in the skin covering the growth.[3]  It is considered an aggressive cancer because it has a high chance of regrowing after treatment (a recurrence), or spreading to surrounding tissues or more distant parts of the body (a metastasis).[3]  Epithelioid sarcoma is first treated with surgery to remove all the cancer cells (wide local excision).[2][3]  Amputation of part of the affected limb may be needed in severe cases.[1]  Radiation therapy or chemotherapy may also be used to destroy any cancer cells not removed during surgery.[2]
Last updated: 9/16/2011

How is an epithelioid sarcoma different from a lipoma or a liposarcoma?

An epithelioid sarcoma forms the uncontrolled growth of epithelial cells.[4] These types of cells are found in many parts of the body and make up the linings of hollow organs and glands. Skin is also made up of epithelial cells. Lipomas and liposarcomas are different from epithelial sarcomas because they are formed from the overgrowth of fat cells. Lipomas commonly develop just below the skin, whereas liposarcomas usually develop deeper inside the body.[5][6]
Last updated: 11/30/2012