Uterine Sarcoma

Uterine sarcoma is a relatively uncommon and aggressive type of cancer that develops in the uterus, a hollow, pear-shaped organ in the female reproductive system. After an egg is fertilized, the uterus houses and nourishes it until the developing fetus is ready to be delivered.

Because uterine sarcoma is a rare and complicated malignancy, it is essential to seek care from a gynecologic oncologist who is very familiar with it. The multidisciplinary team at the Sarcoma Center of Excellence in Tampa General Hospital’s Cancer Institute includes highly focused specialists who have extensive experience in diagnosing and treating all types of uterine sarcoma. Our consistently outstanding cancer outcomes are recognized by U.S. News & World Report in the form of a “High Performing in Cancer” designation for 2023-24.

Uterine Sarcoma Types

Uterine sarcoma is classified based on its site of origin in the uterus. The types include:

  • Leiomyosarcoma (LMS) - The most common type of uterine sarcoma, LMS develops in the smooth muscle cells in the middle layer of the uterine wall (myometrium).
  • Endometrial stromal sarcoma (ESS) - A less common type of uterine sarcoma, ESS forms in the connective tissue cells that support the uterine lining (endometrium) and connect it to the uterine wall.
  • Undifferentiated sarcoma - The rarest type of uterine sarcoma, undifferentiated sarcoma forms in the uterine wall and tends to grow and spread quickly.

Uterine Sarcoma vs. Endometrial Cancer

Both uterine sarcoma and endometrial cancer are forms of uterine cancer. Uterine sarcoma is a rare malignancy that usually develops in the uterine wall or the nearby connective tissues. Endometrial cancer is a more common malignancy that originates in the endometrium.

Uterine Sarcoma vs. Fibroid

Fibroids are uterine growths composed of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissues. Unlike uterine sarcoma, which is rare and cancerous, fibroids are common and the vast majority are benign.

Uterine Sarcoma Causes

The causes of uterine sarcoma are not yet fully understood. However, scientists have identified certain factors that can increase the risk of developing this malignancy, including:

  • Prior hormone therapy for breast cancer
  • Prior radiation therapy delivered to the pelvic area
  • A mutation in the retinoblastoma (RB) gene, which is also linked to eye cancer

Uterine Sarcoma Symptoms

The symptoms of uterine sarcoma can include:

  • Abnormal bleeding from the vagina between periods or after menopause
  • A lump or growth in the vagina
  • Abdominal pain
  • Frequent urination
  • A persistent feeling of fullness (satiety)

Diagnosing Uterine Sarcoma

To diagnose uterine sarcoma, a physician may perform or order:

  • A detailed medical history review
  • A physical examination
  • A pelvic examination
  • A pelvic or transvaginal ultrasound
  • A hysterosonogram
  • A biopsy or hysteroscopy
  • Dilation and curettage (D&C)

Benefit From World-Class Uterine Sarcoma Treatment at TGH

With early detection and prompt treatment, the five-year uterine sarcoma survival rate is approximately 66%. The multidisciplinary team in TGH’s Sarcoma Center of Excellence takes an individualized approach to uterine sarcoma treatment. We develop a tailored plan for each patient based on unique factors such as the location and stage of her tumor and her overall health and preferences. Some options include:

In addition, uterine sarcoma patients who entrust their care to TGH have opportunities to be among the first to benefit from groundbreaking new treatments that are currently available only through clinical trials.

If you would like to request an appointment with a gynecologic oncologist at TGH, contact us at (813) 844-4151