Cancer is complex — there is no routine soft tissue sarcoma, nor is there ever a routine way to treat it.

The OSUCCC — James is a world leader in soft tissue sarcoma treatment, developing some of the very latest advancements in molecular testing and targeting cancer genes – technology that’s available at only a few cancer centers in the country. In fact, our physician experts actually help write the national clinical guidelines for treating specific cancers.

Our treatment team includes internationally recognized soft tissue sarcoma experts and world-renowned sub-specialists, including medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, hematologists, pathologists, sarcoma researchers, genomic experts and more. Working together and across medical disciplines, this super sub-specialized team develops individualized, highly targeted treatment plans that specifically target the molecular and biological makeup of your individual cancer.

Soft Tissue Sarcoma Treatment Options

The OSUCCC – James is a leader in offering some of the world’s most advanced, sophisticated treatments for soft tissue sarcoma patients.

Every person’s disease is different, with individually unique genes and molecules driving that disorder. At the OSUCCC – James, our soft tissue sarcoma sub-specialists are world-renowned experts who focus solely on sarcoma disorders and who reach across medical disciplines (medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, hematologists, pathologists, sarcoma researchers, genomic experts and more) to design the very best treatment plan and therapies to target each patient’s specific cancer.

One or more of the following treatment therapies may be recommended: 


Most patients who have soft tissue sarcoma have surgery. Surgery may be the only treatment necessary for some soft tissue sarcomas.

Surgery may consist of one of the following procedures:

Local Excision

A surgeon removes the soft tissue tumor and some normal tissue around the tumor. The surgery also is called wide local excision.

Limb-Sparing Surgery

A surgeon removes the soft tissue tumor in a patient’s arm or leg. The patient may receive radiation therapy or chemotherapy before surgery to shrink the tumor. A graft of the patient’s healthy tissue and bone or artificial materials may replace tissue and bone removed during surgery.


In rare cases, the surgical expert must remove a patient’s arm or leg to treat soft tissue sarcoma.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing.

A patient with soft tissue sarcoma may receive radiation therapy before or after a surgery that removes a tumor. Radiation can shrink a tumor to make surgery more successful. Postoperative radiation therapy is used to destroy any remaining cancer cells.

The OSUCCC — James radiation experts are leaders in innovative radiation treatments, and The James is one of the few hospitals in Ohio to offer radiation treatments in the prone position (the patient is lying down).

The OSUCCC – James also offers other leading-edge radiation treatments, including imaging-based radiation therapy, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), stereotactic radiosurgery and using a Varian TrueBeam Linear Accelerator.

Conformal Therapy

Conformal therapy uses a computer to create a 3-dimensional picture of the tumor. This allows the OSUCCC – James specialists to hit the tumor with the highest possible dose of radiation while sparing surrounding normal tissue as much as possible.  This therapy is also sometimes called 3-dimensional radiation therapy and 3D-CRT.


Chemotherapy drugs  stop cancer cell growth by either destroying the cells or stopping them from dividing.

When chemotherapy is given before surgery, it can shrink a soft tissue sarcoma tumor. After surgery,  it can lower risk that the sarcoma will return.

Chemotherapy drugs can be taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle, and they may be given over a period of months.

When the drugs enter the bloodstream, they can reach cancer cells throughout the body (called systemic chemotherapy). Combination chemotherapy uses more than one anti-cancer drug.

Chemotherapy treatment usually takes place in an outpatient part of the hospital, at your doctor's office or in your home. Some people may need to stay in the hospital for treatment.

Regional Hyperthermia Therapy

This treatment exposes the tissue around the tumor to high temperatures in order to destroy cancer cells or make them more sensitive to chemotherapy drugs.

Isolated Limb Perfusion

This treatment directs a high dose of chemotherapy drugs directly to the soft tissue sarcoma tumor.

(Source: National Cancer Institute)

Soft Tissue Sarcoma Research and Clinical Trials

For cancer patients, clinical trials mean hope. Hope for a cancer-free world and for better, more targeted ways to prevent, detect, treat and cure individual cancers.

Patients can enter clinical trials before, during or after starting their cancer treatment.

The internationally recognized experts at the OSUCCC – James believe the best way to treat patients and manage their disease successfully is to be at the forefront of delivering the latest, most effective treatments available and by working with nationally and internationally renowned experts to develop the newest and best soft tissue sarcoma treatments and programs.

The OSUCCC – James has more than 500 open clinical trials at any given time, with some of the world’s latest discoveries available to clinical trial patients right here in Columbus, Ohio. In fact, patients have access to more of this nation’s leading-edge, targeted treatments and cancer clinical trials than at most other hospitals in America.

Additionally, the OSUCCC – James is one of only four U.S. cancer centers funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to conduct phase I and phase II clinical trials. These trials go only to centers that demonstrate an exemplary capacity for research and clinical care, the expertise to deliver the latest in treatments and the infrastructure to interpret and track treatment results.

The OSUCCC – James and Ohio State also have nearly 300 cancer research scientists dedicated to understanding what makes each patient’s cancer grow, spread, or reoccur. And because of the OSUCCC – James’ NCI phase I and phase II approvals, these experts can move research discoveries into clinical trials and get them to patients sooner, which can mean improved outcomes, faster responses and fewer side effects.

If you’ve been diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma, would like a second opinion or would like to speak with a sarcoma specialist, please call The James Line at 800-293-5066 or 614-293-5066 to make an appointment.

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Patient Story

Patient Stories Bill Mason

Bill Mason

Bill Mason thought the lump in his back thigh was just a strained muscle. Finding out instead that it was a rare, soft tissue sarcoma, he found the specialty and expertise he needed to heal at the OSUCCC...

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