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(särkō`mə), highly malignant tumor arising in connective- and muscle-cell tissue. It is the result of oncogenes (the cancer causing genes of some viruses) and proto-oncogenes (cancer causing genes in human cells). It may affect bone, cartilage, blood vessels, lymph nodes, and skin. See cancercancer,
in medicine, common term for neoplasms, or tumors, that are malignant. Like benign tumors, malignant tumors do not respond to body mechanisms that limit cell growth.
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; neoplasmneoplasm
or tumor,
tissue composed of cells that grow in an abnormal way. Normal tissue is growth-limited, i.e., cell reproduction is equal to cell death. Feedback controls limit cell division after a certain number of cells have developed, allowing for tissue repair
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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a malignant tumor that consists of connective tissue. Mesenchymomas, which are sarcomas made up of embryonic connective tissue (mesenchyma), are distinguished from sarcomas made up of mature tissues of mesenchymal origin, for example, bone sarcomas (osteosarcomas), cartilaginous sarcomas (chondrosarcomas), vascular sarcomas (angiosarcomas), hematopoietic sarcomas (reticulosarcomas), muscular sarcomas (leiomyosarcomas, rhabdosarcomas), and sarcomas of skeletal nerve tissue (gliosarcomas).

Sarcomas constitute about 10 percent of all malignant tumors; they occur relatively more often in some African and Asian countries. The most common sarcomas are bone tumors and tumors of soft tissues, including muscular, vascular, and nerve tissues. Sarcomas of the hematopoietic organs occur less frequently. Histomorphologically, there are round-cell, polymorphocellular (sometimes giant-cell), and spindle-cell sarcomas, all of which differ in the shape and size of the cells, and fibrosarcomas, in which fibrous elements predominate over cellular elements.

All malignant tumors are characterized by growing into and destroying surrounding tissues; this property is especially pronounced in sarcomas. The early stages of cancers differ from the early stages of sarcomas; cancers metastasize to the nearest lymph nodes, while sarcomas usually spread by way of the bloodstream and frequently metastasize to remote organs.

The principles and methods of diagnosis, preventive measures, and treatment of sarcomas are the same as those used for other malignant tumors.


Klinicheskaia onkologiia. Edited by N. N. Blokhin and B. E. Peterson, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A malignant tumor arising in connective tissue and composed principally of anaplastic cells that resemble those of supportive tissues.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


Pathol a usually malignant tumour arising from connective tissue
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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