A gastric leiomyosarcoma is a tumor that arises from the smooth muscle cells of the stomach.

It is a rare tumor accounting for 1% of all gastric cancers. 

They present with similar symptoms to other forms of stomach cancer, although often they will appear quite late in the disease when they are either large or have spread.

The cause of these soft tissue tumors is unknown.

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About Gastric Leiomyosarcoma

The investigation of these tumors is similar to other forms of stomach malignancy.

In most cases this involves endoscopy, although other investigations such as barium meal are used when not fit enough for endoscopy.

Once the diagnosis is made further investigations including CT staging and possibly PET scanning will be required in due course.

At endoscopy they have a characteristic smooth 'golf ball' appearance to them, often with an area of ulceration at the tip of the tumor.

It is from this ulcerated area that bleeding can sometimes occur, although these cancers are often picked up as an incidental finding.

Biopsies aren't always confirmatory as they have to be taken quite deep in to the tumor and may require re-biopsy to confirm the diagnosis or a "big biopsy" taken when you have surgery.

The biopsies have a very characteristic appearance with the presence of smooth muscle cells with dysplastic or malignant cells present.

Leiomyosarcoma Treatment

Treatment depends on the stage of the disease, but may involve:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy

Surgery is usually undertaken for curative treatment of your tumor, but can also be used in palliation if the cancer is causing obstruction in the stomach.

This needs to be discussed with your oncologist or surgeon as to the best way of dealing with your tumor.

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