Can MRI Detect Liposarcoma?

Liposarcoma is a rare malignant cancer of connective tissues that arise from abnormal proliferation of fat cells into deep soft tissues. It usually develops in arms, thighs, gluteal region, retro peritoneum of the abdomen and rarely in head, neck and shoulder. It usually affects adults in the age of 40 to 60 years. Its symptoms involve pain, swelling, the presence of a lump under the skin, constipation, nausea, vomiting, bloody stool, chest pain and many more. MRI scan, CT scan, skin biopsy and other tests can detect this cancer. It is usually treated by surgical excision of the cancerous cells, but radiation and chemotherapy can also be used.

Can MRI Detect Liposarcoma?

Can MRI detect Liposarcoma?

Liposarcoma is a malignant tumor that grows slowly in the deep soft tissues. Abnormal fat cells proliferate in the muscles of the affected area in an uncontrolled manner. The areas that are commonly affected by liposarcoma are shoulder area, retro peritoneum of the abdomen, gluteal region, thigh, and leg. Adults of middle age commonly develop this cancer, but children can also develop it. It accounts for less than 1% of all newly diagnosed cancers.

Yes, MRI scan can detect liposarcoma. MRI uses a computer and powerful magnets to take images of the tumors and the adjacent areas. It helps to know the type and extent of a tumor into the neighboring tissue and organs. It also studies the damage caused by a tumor to the organs and its depth. It can depict the fatty nature of a tumor.

Other diagnostic tests are following-

X-ray– X-ray can be used to find out the image of a tumor and adjacent areas along with damage caused to the bones.

CT Scan- it is used to get the images of organs and to find out the spread of cancer. It uses a computer to take pictures of the cancerous growth in the organs.

Skin Biopsy- a small piece of skin tissue is taken from a tumor. This skin sample is tested in the laboratory to find out the type of liposarcoma.

Positron Emission Tomography Scan- it is also called a PET scan. It can detect the spread of cancerous cells to other organs with the help of dye injected into the veins. Exact causes of liposarcoma are not clear. Many kinds of research are going on to find out the causes. Researchers noted that it developed in many cases after a trauma or injury. Genetic makeup and some mutations can lead to this cancer. The probable risk factors of liposarcoma are positive family history, exposure to radiations, damaged lymph nodes and exposure to chemicals like vinyl chloride, dioxin, etc.

Symptoms of liposarcoma are-

  • Pain and swelling in the affected area
  • Presence of new lump
  • Enlargement of old lump
  • Restricted movement of the limbs
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Sensation of fullness in the abdomen soon after eating
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Presence of Blood in the stool
  • Difficulty in urination
  • Urine incontinence
  • Painful urination
  • Pain in the chest

Treatment for Liposarcoma

Liposarcoma treatment depends on the type and location of the tumor cells. It can be treated by following ways-

Surgery- liposarcoma surgery is used to remove a tumor from its position.

Radiation- Radiation therapy for liposarcoma can be used for shrinking the tumor cells before surgery or to kill remaining cancer cells after surgery. It ceases its spread to other organs. It can prevent its future relapses.

Chemotherapy– it is effective only in low-grade liposarcoma, for small sized tumors and used to slow down the fast-growing cancer cells.


Liposarcoma is a cancerous disease which develops from abnormal proliferation of fat cells into deep soft tissues of extremities, abdomen, head, neck and shoulder. As it involves soft tissues, MRI scan can easily find out the cancerous growth of soft tissues, its type and its extent to neighboring areas.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 23, 2021

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