Which physical findings are characteristic of liposarcoma?

Updated: Mar 18, 2020
  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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The three most common locations of involvement are the thighs, the retroperitoneum, and the inguinal region.

Liposarcoma usually appears as a well-circumscribed palpable mass as large as 10 cm in diameter. The mass tends to grow slowly over time. The lesion is commonly not tender on palpation. Diffuse abdominal enlargement may be observed in patients with retroperitoneal disease. Liposarcoma that resembles a skin tag has been reported but is an exceptionally rare event. [16]

Fascial compartmentalization may cause liposarcomas to have awkward discoid and fusiform shapes rather than smooth, round forms. Thus, liposarcoma can appear with an array of clinical morphologies and manifestations. Other aspects to note on physical examination are neurologic involvement and lymphadenopathy.

Pleomorphic liposarcoma is both uncommon and rarely occurs in the skin and subcutis. [14] They are most often located on an extremity, trunk, and head and neck and more often involve the subcutaneous, less so the subcutis or dermis. It may be evident as a painless pedunculated pink papulonodule. [17]

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