What is fibrosarcoma?

A fibrosarcoma is a malignant (cancerous) tumor that originates in the connective fibrous tissue found at the ends of bones of the arm or legs, and then spreads to other surrounding soft tissues. It is a type of soft tissue tumor, a type of tissue which includes fat, muscles, tendons (bands of fiber that connect bones to muscle), nerves, joint tissue, blood vessels, and other fibrous tissue. Fibrosarcoma most commonly affects either a lower leg or arm.

Infantile fibrosarcoma

Congenital fibrosarcoma, also called infantile fibrosarcoma, is a type of tumor among the most common soft tissue sarcoma found in children under 1 year of age. It presents as a rapidly growing mass at birth or shortly after. This form of fibrosarcoma is usually slow-growing and tends to be more benign than fibrosarcoma in older children, which behaves more like the type found in adults.

Adult form fibrosarcoma

The adult form of this disease can occur in older children and in adolescents, roughly between the ages of 10 and 15. It is more aggressive than the infantile form and generally involves more complex treatment.

What are the symptoms of fibrosarcoma?

Each child may experience fibrosarcoma symptoms differently, depending on the size, location, and spread of the tumor.

Fibrosarcoma symptoms may include:

  • painless or tender mass in an extremity or trunk
  • pain or soreness caused by suppressed nerves and muscles
  • limping or other difficulty using legs, feet, arms, and hands

Fibrosarcoma symptoms may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult a physician for a diagnosis.

What causes fibrosarcoma?

The exact cause of fibrosarcoma and other soft tissue tumors is not entirely understood, however, studies have indicated that genetic alterations may play a role. Researchers have studied a small number of families that contain several members from one generation who have developed soft tissue sarcomas. In addition, limited studies have shown a possible link between soft tissue sarcomas and the development of other types of cancer. A chromosomal rearrangement has been found in some fibrosarcomas.

How we care for fibrosarcoma

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