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Overview of Sarcomas in the Adolescent and Young Adult Population

Herzog, Cynthia E MD

Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology: April 2005 - Volume 27 - Issue 4 - p 215-218
doi: 10.1097/01.mph.0000161762.53175.e4
Original Article

Based on the data of the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Section of the National Cancer Institute (SEER) program, soft tissue and bone sarcomas account for about 1% of all new malignancies diagnosed in the United States each year. However, there are numerous different histologic types, and any given type of sarcoma is extremely rare. Determining the incidence of sarcomas by age and type is difficult due to the limited data reported. The SEER program collects data regarding age but only limited data on histology, while most series reported in the literature include either adults or pediatric patients, but rarely both. In an effort to estimate the frequency and absolute numbers of different sarcomas in the adolescent and young adult population, the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) tumor registry was queried for all soft tissue sarcomas from 1990 through 2003, and all bone sarcomas from 1990 through 2002. Based on this query, an overview of sarcomas that occur predominantly in the adolescent and young adult (AYA) population is presented. These sarcomas include rhabdomyosarcoma, synovial sarcoma, neurogenic sarcoma, epithelioid sarcomas, alveolar soft parts sarcoma, Ewing sarcoma, and osteosarcoma. Using the percentages for occurrence of each histologic type determined from the MDACC database, and the SEER estimate of overall sarcoma incidence, an estimate of the number of new cases in 2004 for the predominant histologic types occurring in the AYA population are presented. Also reviewed are the chromosomal translocations that occur frequently in sarcomas presenting in the AYA population.

From the Division of Pediatrics, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.

Received for publication February 23, 2005; accepted February 25, 2005.

Presented in part on April 16, 2004, at the Adolescent and Young Adult Symposium 2004 “Sarcomas in Adolescents and Young Adults” held at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Reprints: Cynthia E. Herzog, Division of Pediatrics, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Unit 87, Houston, TX 77030. (e-mail:

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.