Sarcoma: Support our research to beat this cancer

Last updated: 15/10/2013

Why this research is needed?

Scientist using a microscopeSoft tissue sarcomas are cancers that mainly develop in the soft supporting tissues of the body, like muscles, nerves, fat and blood vessels.

Around 2,800 people are diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma in England every year, and only half of the people diagnosed with a soft tissue sarcoma survive the disease for at least five years.

The impact of our work

There are many types of soft tissue sarcoma depending on the tissue they develop from. Our researchers are working hard to find the best way to treat them, seeking the most effective treatments possible through fundamental lab research and clinical trials.

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Project closed – August 2013

We have some fantastic news! Thanks to your hard work and support, we’ve achieved our fundraising target.

You’ve helped to raise a tremendous £60,000 for pioneering research! Thank you so much for your support in helping us to achieve this.

Fundraising and donations to this project have now closed. If you’d like to continue to support our groundbreaking work to beat sarcoma sooner, we’re raising money for another area of research that you can support:

Sarcoma: Help improve treatment for sarcoma of the womb

Children's sarcomas

Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common soft tissue sarcoma in children. More than 50 children are diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma in Great Britain every year, and around two-thirds of children survive the disease for five years or more. It develops in the muscles and is generally treated with surgery, followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Sometimes Rhabdomyosarcomas don't respond to chemotherapy or they return after treatment. In these cases doctors use two different drugs called vincristine and irinotecan.

Dr Julia Chisholm at the Royal Marsden Hospital in Surrey is working to find out if adding another drug called temozolomide to this combination could work even better, and whether this combination is safe to use.

This trial could result in a more effective way of treating children with returning RMS or those who have become resistant to chemotherapy.

Rare soft tissue sarcomas

Alveolar soft part sarcoma (ASPS) is a very rare form of soft tissue sarcoma that mainly affects the legs. Most of the tumour is removed through surgery but, sadly, ASPS doesn't respond well to radiotherapy or chemotherapy, especially if the cancer has spread.

Professor Ian Judson at the London Institute for Cancer Research is testing a new drug, called cediranib, to treat people with the disease who cannot be helped with standard chemotherapy.

This drug stops tumours from growing new blood vessels, and without the extra blood supply the tumour cannot grow bigger.

The results of this trial could give new hope for people with ASPS who cannot benefit from other treatments.

Unconventional sarcomas

Ewing's sarcoma (ES) generally occurs in the bones, but can also grow in soft tissues.

ES is generally treated with chemotherapy to shrink the tumour first, followed by surgery then radiotherapy, and more chemotherapy. At the moment, there are two main ways of treating Ewing's sarcoma that use two different drugs, but doctors don't know which one is best.

To find out which one works better, Professor Keith Wheatley at Birmingham University is running a large clinical trial for children and teenagers. In this trial the two treatments are being compared against each other.

This large trial, open to 600 children and young people, will determine the most effective way to treat ES, helping to save more lives now and in the future.

The difference you can make

Because there are many types of soft tissue sarcomas, we need to continue research to ensure that we can treat them all effectively.

Thanks to your support, we can fund the best research into soft tissue sarcoma, helping people with the disease to live longer and enjoy a better quality of life.