No amputation needed: Local excision proves sufficient in one fibrosarcoma case study

October 1, 2008

A patient with low-grade fibrosarcoma has not needed an amputation of the limb but rather local excision of tumors, according to her dermatologist.

Key Points

Dr. Starr, who has been treating the patient for two years, says the localized low-grade fibrosarcoma has remained confined to the patient's left lower extremity.

"It is very odd, because she grows these subcutaneous nodules on her pretibium, ankle and calf. They grow fairly quickly - over the course of a few months - and we simply excise them with a narrow clinical margin.

Treating sarcomas

Dermatologists and oncologists confronted with sarcomas do not routinely treat the tumors in this way, says Dr. Starr, who has never had a similar case. Treatment can be as aggressive as amputation.

However, the patient's annual MRI studies have been stable. When new lesions develop, they are easily excised.

The case has taught the dermatologist that not all sarcomas are treated equally and that, on occasion, it is appropriate to simply excise the solitary tumors.

"You cannot use radiation therapy. There is no chemotherapy that would work. Your only other option would be amputation. These are subcutaneous nodules and the size varies from 6 mm to 3 cm," Dr. Starr explains.