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A Fifty-year Review of Soft Tissue Sarcomas in Jamaica: 1958–2007


Objective: To determine the distribution of histologic subtypes of soft tissue sarcomas (STS) in Kingston and St. Andrew, Jamaica, according to age and topography.

Methods: From the Jamaica Cancer Registry (JCR) archives, all cases of STS diagnosed between 1958 and 2007 were extracted. For each case, age, gender, histological diagnosis and anatomical site of tumour were recorded. Patients were categorized according to age at diagnosis as: children (0–14 years) and adults (> 14 years), and the distribution of histologic diagnoses with respect to age and anatomical site were analysed.

Results: There were 432 cases (67 children, 364 adults, one person of unknown age) of STS recorded in the JCR over the 50-year period (218 males, 214 females). The commonest STS in adults were “sarcoma, not otherwise specified [NOS]” (20.1%), malignant fibrous histiocytoma [MFH] (17.9%), fibrosarcoma (12.4%), liposarcoma (10.7%) and malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumour [MPNST] (10.2%). In children, they were neuroblastoma (38.8%), rhabdomyosarcoma (23.9%), “sarcoma, NOS” (9%), fibrosarcoma (6%) and MFH (6%). In adults, the lower limb was the commonest location, followed by trunk and/or upper limb for MFH, fibrosarcoma and liposarcoma, and head and neck for MPNST. In children, head and neckwas the commonest site for rhabdomyosarcoma, head and neck and upper limb for MFH, retroperitoneum for neuroblastoma and trunk for fibrosarcoma.

Conclusion: A high proportion of soft tissue sarcomas in Jamaica are unclassified and the anatomical distribution of common classified sarcomas shows some differences with the literature. Limited access to immunohistochemistry/molecular diagnostics and increasing core biopsy diagnosis may contribute to these phenomena.

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e-Published: 15 Feb, 2013

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