Reviewed By: Robert Maki, M.D., Ph.D.
Robert Maki, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics, and Orthopaedics, Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, NY
Sarcoma is one of the major cancer types for which new immune-based cancer treatments are currently in development. This page features information on sarcoma and immunotherapy clinical trials for sarcoma patients, and highlights the Cancer Research Institute’s role in working to bring effective immune-based cancer treatments to people with sarcoma.
A sarcoma is a cancer that arises in the body’s connective tissues, such as muscle, fat, bone, or cartilage. Sarcomas are given a number of different names based on the type of tissue that they most closely resemble. For example, osteosarcoma resembles bone, chondrosarcoma resembles cartilage, liposarcoma resembles fat, and leiomyosarcoma resembles smooth muscle.
There are approximately 15,610 new cases of sarcoma diagnosed per year in the United States, and 6,480 deaths. Sarcomas represent about one percent of the 1.7 million new cancer diagnoses in the U.S. each year. Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) is the most common form of sarcoma, with approximately 3,000-3,500 cases per year in the United States.
Sarcoma is a rare cancer in adults (1% of all adult cancers), but rather prevalent in children (about 15% of all childhood cancers). Some sarcomas, such as leiomyosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, and GIST, are more common in adults than in children. Most high-grade (aggressive) bone sarcomas, including Ewing sarcoma and osteosarcoma, are much more common in children and young adults.