Leiomyosarcoma, General

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

Important
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Disorder Subdivisions

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General Discussion

Leiomyosarcoma is a malignant (cancerous) tumor that arises from smooth muscle tissue. There are essentially two types of muscles in the body: voluntary and involuntary. Smooth muscles are involuntary muscles; the brain has no conscious control over them. Smooth muscles react involuntarily in response to various stimuli. For example, smooth muscle that lines the walls of the digestive tract causes wave-like contractions (peristalsis) that aid in the digestion and transport of food. Smooth muscles in the salivary glands cause the glands to squirt saliva into the mouth in response to taking a bite of food. Smooth muscle in the skin causes goose bumps to form in response to cold.

Leiomyosarcoma is a form of cancer. The term "cancer" refers to a group of diseases characterized by abnormal, uncontrolled cellular growth that invades surrounding tissues and may spread (metastasize) to distant bodily tissues or organs via the bloodstream, the lymphatic system, or other means. Different forms of cancer, including leiomyosarcomas, may be classified based upon the cell type involved, the specific nature of the malignancy, and the disease's clinical course.

Since smooth muscle is found all over the body, a leiomyosarcoma can form almost anywhere including the gastrointestinal tract, heart, liver, pancreas, genitourinary tract, the space behind the abdominal cavity (retroperitoneum), uterus, skin, and the walls of blood vessels. The gastrointestinal tract and the uterus are the most common locations for a leiomyosarcoma. Approximately 50 percent of leiomyosarcomas occur in the gastrointestinal tract.

Leiomyosarcoma is classified as a soft tissue sarcoma. Sarcomas are malignant tumors that arise from the connective tissue, which connects, supports and surrounds various structures and organs in the body. Soft tissue includes fat, muscle, never, tendons, tissue surrounding the joints (synovial tissue), and blood and lymph vessels. The exact cause of leiomyosarcoma, including uterine leiomyosarcoma, is unknown.

Resources

American Cancer Society, Inc.
1599 Clifton Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
USA
Tel: (404)320-3333
Tel: (800)227-2345
TDD: (866)228-4327
Internet: http://www.cancer.org

National Cancer Institute
6116 Executive Blvd, MSC 8322, Room 3036A
Bethesda, MD 20892-8322
USA
Tel: (301)435-3848
Tel: (800)422-6237
TDD: (800)332-8615
Internet: http://www.cancer.gov

National Cancer Information Center
514 10th Street NW
Suite 400
Washington, DC 20004
Tel: (301)929-8243
Tel: (800)227-2345

OncoLink: The University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center Resource
3400 Spruce Street
2 Donner
Philadelphia, PA 19104-4283
USA
Tel: (215)349-5445
Fax: (215)349-5445
Email: editors@oncolink.upenn.edu
Internet: http://www.oncolink.upenn.edu

Sarcoma Foundation of America
9884 Main Street
Damascus, MD 20872
USA
Tel: (301)253-8687
Fax: (301)253-8690
Email: info@curesarcoma.org
Internet: http://www.curesarcoma.org

Sarcoma Alliance
775 E. Blithedale #334
Mill Valley, CA 94941
USA
Tel: (415)381-7236
Fax: (415)381-7235
Email: info@sarcomaalliance.org
Internet: http://www.sarcomaalliance.org

Rare Cancer Alliance
1649 North Pacana Way
Green Valley, AZ 85614
USA
Tel: (520)625-5495
Fax: (615)526-4921
Email: sharon.lane@rare-cancer.org
Internet: http://www.rare-cancer.org

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
TDD: (888)205-3223
Email: ordr@od.nih.gov
Internet: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/Default.aspx

BeatSarcoma
143 28th Street
Suite 4
San Francisco, CA 94131
Tel: (415)651-4473
Email: info@beatsarcoma.org

For a Complete Report

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc. ® (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be obtained for a small fee by visiting the NORD website. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational treatments (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, see http://www.rarediseases.org/search/rdblist.html

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