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Volume 5, Issue 1, Pages 5-8

Soft Tissue Sarcoma: The Predominant Primary Malignancy in the Retroperitoneum

1Dutch Network and National Database for Pathology (PALGA), Utrecht, The Netherlands
2Netherlands Cancer Registry, Vereniging van Integrale Kankercentra, Utrecht, The Netherlands
3Dutch Soft Tissue Sarcoma Group, Vereniging van Integrale Kanker Centra, Utrecht, The Netherlands
4Department of Surgery, Universitair Medisch Centrum, Room G04.228, Heidelberglaan 100, Utrecht 3584 CX, The Netherlands

Copyright © 2001 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Purpose. In the clinical work-up of a retroperitoneal mass, the diagnosis of soft tissue sarcoma is often not considered. Incidence rates of various malignant and benign retroperitoneal tumours were studied to determine the incidence of soft tissue sarcoma in comparison with other neoplasms in the retroperitoneal space.

Method. Nation-wide data on retroperitoneal tumours, collected prospectively over a 5-year period (1 January 1989– 1 January 1994), were supplied by the Netherlands Cancer Registry and The Dutch Network and National Database for Pathology.

Results. Seven hundred and six patients with a primary retroperitoneal neoplasm were identified; 566 patients had a malignant tumour (80%). A soft tissue sarcoma (STS) was the most frequently diagnosed malignant tumour (n = 192), The agestandardised incidence of retroperitoneal STS was 2.5 per million person-years. The male/female ratio for STS was 0.73. In females, STS comprised 41%of all malignant retroperitoneal tumours, carcinoma of unknown primary tumour site (CUP) comprised 31%, and malignant lymphomas (ML) comprised 22%, whereas in males these values were 28% (STS), 30% (CUP), and 32% (ML), respectively.

Discussion. Soft tissue sarcomas, albeit rare, are relatively common primary tumours in the retroperitoneum, especially in women.