What is leiomyosarcoma?

Leiomyosarcoma is a cancer of the muscle, particularly of soft tissue. It is a type of soft tissue sarcoma, and can appear in many places in the body, but in children it usually occurs in the gastrointestinal tract, which includes the stomach, small intestines, colon, appendix, rectum and anus. It can spread (metasize) to other areas of the body if it’s not removed, but if it is completely removed, it almost never reappear in other parts of the body. Overall, it is not a highly aggressive form of cancer and usually is not considered life threatening if it is treated early.

Types of leiomyosarcoma

Soft tissue leiomyosarcoma

In children, soft tissue leiomyosarcoma is usually found in the gastrointestinal tract, which includes the stomach, small intestines, colon, appendix, rectum and anus. Symptoms include abdominal discomfort and weight loss.

Cutaneous (skin) leiomyosarcoma

Men are twice as likely to develop cutaneous leiomyosarcoma. In children, the risk is equal among girls and boys. Surface level cutaneous leiomyosarcoma is usually benign, and usually does not move to other parts of the body (metastasize). Small purple or red spots (lesions) deeper in the skin

Vascular leiomyosarcoma

Vascular leiomyosarcoma originates from major blood vessels. It is very rare condition with only a few hundred cases reported. It occurs in larger veins and vena cava.

Immunocompromised host leiomyosarcom

HIV, AIDS and the Eptstein-Barr virus (“mono”) compromises the immune system and can make your child more vulnerable to leiomyosarcoma.

Bone leiomyosarcoma

Bone leiomyosarcoma is extremely rare. It occurs in the metaphysis of long bones, where the epiphyseal plates (growth plates) are. Growth plates start as cartilage and become bone (ossifies) when the child has stopped growing. Tumors in the long bones hard to find, as they appear translucent in radiographic testing (x-rays).

How we care for leiomyosarcoma

Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center provides compassionate, comprehensive medical and surgical care for children and adolescents with benign or malignant soft tissue tumors through our Bone and Soft Tissues Tumors Program. Our multidisciplinary approach to care ensures in-depth discussion of each case and personalized treatment plans for every child.

In addition to a multidisciplinary approach, we are starting a personalized medicine approach to make sure we treat each leiomyosarcoma case separately, as each person is unique, down to the molecular level. We develop a treatment plan specifically designed for your child.