What is liposarcoma?

Liposarcoma is a type of cancer that begins in the fat cells. Liposarcoma is considered a type of soft tissue sarcoma.

Liposarcoma can occur in fat cells in any part of the body, but most cases occur in the muscles of the limbs or in the abdomen.

How common is liposarcoma?

Liposarcoma is rare. Liposarcoma occurs most often in older adults, though it can occur at any age. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.


What are the symptoms of liposarcoma?

Liposarcoma signs and symptoms vary depending on the part of the body where the cancer forms.

Liposarcoma that forms in the arms and legs can cause:

  • A growing lump of tissue under your skin
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Weakness of the affected limb

Liposarcoma that forms in the abdomen can cause:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Feeling full sooner when eating
  • Constipation
  • Blood in stool

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.


What causes liposarcoma?

It’s not clear what causes liposarcoma.

Doctors know that liposarcoma forms when a fat cell develops errors (mutations) in its genetic code. The mutations tell the cell to multiply rapidly and to go on living when other cells would die. The accumulating abnormal cells form a mass (tumor).

Several types of liposarcoma exist. Some grow slowly and the cells stay in one area of the body. Other types grow very quickly and may spread to other areas of the body.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for liposarcoma?

There are many risk factors for liposarcoma, such as:

  • Certain genetic syndromes
  • Exposure to radiation during treatment for another cancer
  • Exposure to some chemicals
  • A damaged lymph system

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is liposarcoma diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will likely do a biopsy to check if you have this cancer. This is a test that removes some of your suspicious tissue. It’s either done by surgery or with a needle and syringe. A pathologist, a doctor who looks at tissue samples under a microscope, will check for cancer cells. If he or she finds liposarcoma, your healthcare provider may order more tests. These can show the extent of your cancer and how far it’s spread. The tests could include X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) scan, or an ultrasound.

How is liposarcoma treated?

Treatments for liposarcoma include:

  • The goal of surgery is to remove all of the cancer cells. Whenever possible, surgeons work to remove the entire liposarcoma. If a liposarcoma grows to involve nearby organs, removal of the entire liposarcoma may not be possible. In those situations, your doctor may recommend other treatments to shrink the liposarcoma to make it easier to remove during an operation.
  • Radiation therapy. Radiation therapy uses powerful energy beams, such as X-rays and protons, to kill cancer cells. Radiation may be used after surgery to kill any cancer cells that remain. Radiation may also be used before surgery to shrink a tumor in order to make it more likely that surgeons can remove the entire tumor.
  • Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Not all types of liposarcoma are sensitive to chemotherapy drugs. Careful analysis of your cancer cells by an expert pathologist can determine whether chemotherapy is likely to help you. Chemotherapy may be used after surgery to kill any cancer cells that remain or before surgery to shrink a tumor. Chemotherapy is sometimes combined with radiation therapy.
  • Clinical trials. Clinical trials are studies of new treatments. Clinical trials might give you a chance to try the latest treatments, such as new types of chemotherapy and targeted therapy drugs. Ask your doctor whether you qualify for any clinical trials.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage liposarcoma?

Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: November 21, 2017 | Last Modified: November 21, 2017