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Cancer. 2011 Dec 1;117(23):5359-69. doi: 10.1002/cncr.26195. Epub 2011 May 19.

Pleomorphic liposarcoma: clinical observations and molecular variables.

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  • 1Department of Surgical Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA.



Pleomorphic liposarcoma (PLS) is a rare high-grade sarcoma that has lipoblastic differentiation. In this study, the authors evaluated PLS natural history, patient outcomes, and commonly deregulated protein biomarkers.


Medical records from patients (n = 155) who had PLS from 1993 to 2010 were reviewed. Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to identify independent prognosticators. A PLS tissue microarray (TMA) (n = 56 patient specimens) was constructed for immunohistochemical analysis of molecular markers, and p53 gene sequencing (exons 5-9) was conducted.


The average patient age was 57 years, and the patients presented with primary disease (n = 102), recurrent disease (n = 16), and metastatic disease (n = 37). Lower extremity was the most common disease site (40%), and the average tumor size was 11 cm. Complete follow-up data were available for 83 patients, and their median follow-up was 22.6 months. The 5-year disease-specific survival rate was 53%; and recurrent disease, unresectability, and microscopic positive margins were identified as predictors of a poor prognosis. Systemic relapse (the strongest poor prognostic determinant) developed in 35% of patients with localized PLS. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed increased expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (an adipogenic marker), B-cell leukemia 2 and survivin (survival factors), vascular endothelial growth factor (an angiogenic factor), matrix metalloproteinase 2, and other biomarkers. Frequent loss of retinoblastoma protein expression and high p53 mutation rates (approximately 60%) were observed.


PLS is an aggressive, metastasizing sarcoma. Identifying ubiquitous molecular events underlying PLS progression is crucial for progress in patient management and outcomes.

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