Last edited 03/2021 and last reviewed 03/2021

Liposarcoma is a rare malignant tumour of adipose tissue origin.

Malignancy should be suspected in a lipomatous tumour with the following characteristics:

  • large size
  • firm
  • highly vascular
  • fast growing

Liposarcomas are rare malignant tumors of adipocytic differentiation

  • are among the more common soft tissue sarcoma (STS) subtypes, accounting for approximately 15% to 20% of all STSs (1)

  • classification of liposarcomas into four principal subtypes reflects the distinct clinical behavior, treatment sensitivity, and underlying biology encompassed by these diseases. Increasingly, clinical management decisions and the development of investigational therapeutics are informed by an improved understanding of subtype-specific molecular pathology
    • well-differentiated liposarcoma is the most common subtype and is associated with indolent behavior, local recurrence, and insensitivity to radiotherapy and chemotherapy

    • dedifferentiated liposarcoma represents focal progression of well-differentiated disease into a more aggressive, metastasizing, and fatal malignancy

    • myxoid liposarcoma is characterized by a pathognomonic chromosomal translocation that results in an oncogenic fusion protein

    • pleomorphic liposarcoma is a karyotypically complex and especially poor-prognosis subtype that accounts for less than 10% of liposarcoma diagnoses

Liposarcomata are treated by wide surgical excision, if this is possible.

The tumour does not respond well to radiotherapy and cytotoxic chemotherapy.


  1. Lee ATJ et al. Clinical and Molecular Spectrum of Liposarcoma. J Clin Oncol. 2018 Jan 10; 36(2): 151–159.