Cardiac tumors - malignant
Sarcoma - general

Author: Nat Pernick, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 20 March 2018, last major update December 2013

Copyright: (c) 2007-2018, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.

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

Cite this page: Pernick, N. Sarcoma - general. PathologyOutlines.com website. http://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/hearttumorsarcomageneral.html. Accessed August 16th, 2018.
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