What is The Cause of Leiomyosarcoma?
Although experts do not know the exact reason for the cause of leiomyosarcoma (which is a very rare disease), some researches are being carried out to determine the causes, the available options to avoid the disease, diagnose using other imaging techniques and better treatment options which do not cause more side effects.
A risk factor is anything that influences the likelihood that you get a disease, such as leiomyosarcoma. There are different types of risk factors. Some cannot be changed, such as age or race. Others factors can be associated with personal choices such as smoking, drinking or diet. Possessing a risk factor, or even several, does not mean that a person will suffer from the leiomyosarcoma. Likewise, if a patient does not present any risk factor, this does not mean that will not suffer from the disease. It is known that these factors affect a woman’s risk of leiomyosarcoma.
Pelvic Radiation Therapy Could Cause Leiomyosarcoma
High-energy (ionizing) radiation, which is used to treat some type of cancers can damage the cells’ DNA, incrementing the risk of a second type of cancer. If you have received pelvic radiation, you have a higher risk of developing uterine sarcoma. Commonly, these cancers are diagnosed 5 to 25 years after you have been exposed to radiation.
Race is a Risk Factor for Leiomyosarcoma
Uterine sarcomas occur more commonly in black women than in white or Asian women. The reason is unknown.
RB Gene Changes May Cause Leiomyosarcoma
Women who have had a type of eye cancer called retinoblastoma due to a congenital anomaly of a copy of the RB gene are at an increased risk of developing leiomyosarcomas.
Healthcare professionals do not know exactly what causes most uterine sarcomas, although certain risk factors have been established. The investigations are helping to understand this infrequent disease.
For example, scientists have discovered changes in the DNA of certain genes that occur when normal uterine cells become leiomyosarcomas.
Their understanding of how changes in specific molecules can make normal cells turn into leiomyosarcoma has improved thanks to recent research. Researchers now have a fair idea as to how gene mutations can affect normal cell growths which in turn may lead to a condition like leiomyosarcoma. One area of active research is imaging studies to more accurately diagnose leiomyosarcomas. The treatment options depend on whether a uterine tumor is a leiomyosarcoma or not, for example, it could be a leiomyoma or a fibroma. This information would help to know if surgery is needed and, if so, would allow doctors to apply the best surgical technique to remove the tumor. To know more about these rare tumors have led the researchers to look at enhanced imaging as a diagnostic tool so that they have a better understanding on how to use chemotherapy after surgery and what may be the chances of a positive outcome post treatment. Positron emission tomography (PET) is being studied, as well as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) enhanced with contrast agents. Additionally, researchers are continuing to find new ways to diagnose leiomyosarcoma in addition to the standard imaging techniques with the help of blood tests for the levels of LDH, body weight of the patient, and size of the tumor.
Surgery is the frontline treatment for this condition. To thwart any chance of recurrence physicians also resort to chemotherapy along with radiation or even without it after surgery.
Hormonal therapy has also shown to be quite efficacious in treating and controlling some types of uterine sarcomas. Researchers try to discover if medications that control estrogen could help delay or even prevent these cancers from coming back after surgery. They are also determining whether it is necessary to remove the ovaries during the course of treatment in all females with uterine sarcoma, or whether it is safe to preserve them, more in young females with early stage of cancer.
Healthcare professionals are also trying to analyze immunotherapies and other targeted therapies as a mode of treatment for leiomyosarcoma. These medications may not have the same working mechanism as chemotherapy medications but they have shown to be effective when chemotherapy has no effect on the patient or there is a recurrence of leiomyosarcoma post treatment.