USC Surgery / Treatments / Retroperitoneal Sarcoma Surgery

The retroperitoneum refers to the “back of the abdomen.” Sarcomas in the retroperitoneum are very rare cancers for which surgery can be extremely challenging. The Keck Medicine of USC Retroperitoneal Sarcoma Surgery Program offers experience, expertise, and the latest integrated multidisciplinary approaches in the treatment of this disease.
Retroperitoneal sarcomas can be further divided into subtypes. The most common subtypes are 1) liposarcoma (well differentiated / dedifferentiated, 50-60%) and 2) leiomyosarcoma (20-30%). Other subtypes include solitary fibrous tumor, malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor, and undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma.

Complete tumor removal by surgery is the main treatment for all retroperitoneal sarcomas. However, these tumors are usually massive in size and touch upon or invade into adjacent organs and vital structures (for example, major blood vessels), making surgery very difficult. Effective surgical treatment of retroperitoneal sarcoma combines technical skill with an intimate knowledge of both the subtype and the unique features in each patient’s situation. In these operations, removal of adjacent organs and structures may be necessary. However, our surgeons make every effort possible to preserve adjacent organs. Sometimes chemotherapy or radiation therapy is also used to help achieve the best possible outcome.

The Keck Medicine of USC Retroperitoneal Sarcoma Surgery Program is led by Dr. William Tseng, a surgical oncologist whose clinical practice is dedicated to soft tissue sarcoma. He brings experience in this disease, particularly liposarcoma, from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Tseng is an expert in retroperitoneal sarcoma and is also actively engaged in research to try to find alternative treatments that might someday be combined with or even replace surgery.

Dr. Tseng has numerous publications about current treatment and ongoing research in retroperitoneal sarcoma. In addition, Dr. Tseng is an active member of the Trans-Atlantic Retroperitoneal Sarcoma Working Group. Through this international collaboration, Dr. Tseng is at the forefront of the field and has even helped to formulate standardized treatment guidelines for this disease. Dr. Tseng sees patients with retroperitoneal sarcoma that come from Los Angeles, across the country, and all over the world.

A distinct advantage of Keck Medicine’s Retroperitoneal Sarcoma Surgery Program is our integrated, multidisciplinary approach to treatment. Each patient case is discussed at our multidisciplinary Tumor Board, with expertise and combined input from all of the sarcoma specialists at USC to help decide the best course of treatment, personalized to each individual patient.

Related to Retroperitoneal Sarcoma Surgery

Patient Advocacy – Retroperitoneal Sarcoma

Liposarcoma and other ‘orphan disease’ warrant research and attention,” commentary by William Tseng, MD, April 11, 2017

Understanding Retroperitoneal Sarcoma,” editorial by William Tseng, MD, August 1, 2017