Cardiac tumors - malignant
Sarcoma - general

Topic Completed: 1 December 2013

Revised: 27 September 2019

Copyright: 2007-2019, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.

PubMed Search: Sarcoma [title] heart review[ptyp]

Nat Pernick, M.D.
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Cite this page: Pernick N. Sarcoma - general. PathologyOutlines.com website. http://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/hearttumorsarcomageneral.html. Accessed December 8th, 2019.
Definition / general
  • See also individually described sarcomas
  • Sarcoma is most common primary tumor of heart after myxoma, but still is rare (0.2% of autopsies or less)
  • Often not diagnosed until autopsy due to rarity and nonspecific signs / symptoms
  • Primary if neoplasm is confined to heart or pericardium or bulk of tumor is within pericardial cavity
  • Most sarcomas as surgical specimens are primary but must rule out metastatic tumor of soft tissue, bone or retroperitoneum, which are more common
  • Usually occurs in left atrium, except for rhabdomyosarcoma
  • Poor prognosis overall, with survival of 12 - 24 months due to advanced stage at presentation (Eur J Cardiothorac Surg 2006;29:925, Ann Cardiol Angeiol 2003;52:370)
  • Poor prognostic factors: necrosis (in groups of cells with an inflammatory infiltrate), frequent mitotic figures (5 per 400x field with an average of 10 in most active area)
Case reports
Gross description
  • Bulky, infiltrating, nodular, firm white masses with variable hemorrhage and calcification
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