Leiomyosarcoma Survival Rate

What Is Leiomyosarcoma?

Leiomyosarcoma (LMS) is a rare type of cancer. It grows in the smooth muscles. Your smooth muscles are a part of organs such as [1]:

  • The intestines
  • Stomach
  • Bladder

In females, these smooth muscles are in the uterus. They help carry blood, food, and other substances throughout your body. But interestingly, you're not aware of any of these processes. Since LMS is a very aggressive type of cancer, it spreads fast. Your doctor, after diagnosis, may find it in the abdomen or the uterus.

What Are the Signs And Symptoms of Leiomyosarcoma?

The symptoms of this type of cancer depend on many factors. Some of them include the following [2]:

  • The location
  • Size
  • How much has the tumor spread

Unfortunately, symptoms of early-stage lymphomas are not obvious. People are often asymptomatic in the beginning. But general cancer symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling sick
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea

Pain is uncommon. But in some cases, it may occur in the target area. Swelling can lead you to detect a mass. But many other symptoms depend on the tumor’s location. So, there is no standard list of signs and symptoms to look out for.

The tumors may result in the following:

  • Stomach pain
  • Hematemesis (blood vomiting)
  • Bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract
  • Black and foul-smelling feces (melena)

There may also be:

  • Unusual discharge from the vagina
  • Uterine bleeding
  • Changes in bowel habits

Most leiomyosarcoma forms are aggressive. This means they can metastasize and reach other parts of the body. These body parts may include the liver or lungs. Leiomyosarcoma can lead to life-threatening complications. It’s important to diagnose it early. Otherwise, there’s a high risk of recurrence.

Leiomyosarcoma Diagnosis and Staging

Diagnosis and staging of Leiomyosarcoma are essential in the recovery and treatment process. In fact, an earlier diagnosis can lead to better treatment. It can also lead to the timely management of the disease.

How is Leiomyosarcoma Diagnosed?

Diagnosing Leiomyosarcoma requires taking an extensive patient history. Following this, your healthcare provider will recommend/perform the following [3]:

  • Clinical evaluation
  • Blood tests
  • Biopsies
  • Imaging techniques, etc.

Sometimes, a painful lump may also appear in the affected area. But, the main idea behind diagnosing Leiomyosarcoma is distinguishing it from leiomyoma. The latter is a benign counterpart of the former.

In most cases, confirming a diagnosis requires performing a fine-needle aspiration (FNA).

It is a diagnostic technique in which a specialist does the following:

  • They pass it through your skin
  • They insert it into the nodule
  • They withdraw samples of the relevant tissue

Then, specialists study this tissue under a microscope. It’s important to note that the FNA is not always conclusive. This is why physicians choose to perform a core or an incisional biopsy.

In an incisional biopsy, they remove the sample tissue surgically. Then, they send it to a pathology lab. There, specialists process it and study it to determine its:

  • Histopathology
  • Microscopic structure

Doctors may also perform imaging techniques to evaluate the following:

  • The tumor’s extension
  • Its placement
  • Its size

Diagnosticians can perform imaging techniques like:

  • Computerized tomography (CT) scanning
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Ultrasound

Sometimes they also perform more specialized tests to determine if there is distant metastasis.

Leiomyosarcoma Staging

Determining the right leiomyosarcoma stage is crucial to create a treatment plan. All in all, the disease has four stages [4]. Diagnosing it in the earlier stages is difficult since people are asymptomatic.

  • Stage 1 – At this stage, the cancer is small. It is not bigger than 5 cm. The cancer is low-grade, and it hasn't spread.
  • Stage 2 – At this stage, the cancer is big. It is either low grade or high grade and has not started to spread.
  • Stage 3 – In stage 3, the cancer turns high grade. But even then, it has not spread.
  • Stage 4 – At the last stage, the cancer has begun spreading into nearby lymph nodes. It may also have spread to other parts of the body.

Is Leiomyosarcoma Hereditary?

Medical experts are yet to determine the causes of Leiomyosarcoma. So, it isn't a hereditary condition as of now. But experts often link this disease with other genetic conditions, such as [5]:

  • Nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome
  • Gardner syndrome

Leiomyosarcoma Survival Rate

The survival rates vary for different types and stages of the disease.

What is the Survival Rate for Leiomyosarcoma?

The 5-year survival rate for localized Leiomyosarcoma is 60% [6]. The term “localized” suggests that the cancer hasn’t spread too far. Doctors may still give treatment a go since survival rates are higher.

Survival According to Staging

The survival probabilities are calculated according to staging. But, the four stages of Leiomyosarcoma are further divided into the following categories [7]:

  • Localized
  • Regional
  • Distant

The 5-year survival rate for those with “localized” Leiomyosarcoma is 60%. For those with “regional” Leiomyosarcoma, the rate is 37%. For people with “distant” Leiomyosarcoma, the survival rate is 12%.

It is reasonable to conclude that staging a disease helps understand its survival rate and prognosis. People with localized Leiomyosarcoma have a better chance of survival. Those with distant Leiomyosarcoma have critically low chances of survival.

While these numbers/rates of survival are important, they don’t take everything into account. It’s important to note that survival rates depend on the following factors:

  • How far has the cancer spread?
  • Your age
  • Your overall health
  • Tumor type
  • Tumor grade
  • How well does the cancer respond to various treatments? Etc.

It’s also important to note that some patients have a better prognosis than what these numbers represent. This is because treatments get better over time.

Leiomyosarcoma Treatment Options

As with every other disease, Leiomyosarcoma is also prone to conflicting research. While there are treatments available, they depend on an individual’s symptoms.

The therapies/treatments further depend on the following:

  • Your medical history
  • The stage of the disease
  • Age
  • Allergies
  • Personal preference, etc.

Treatment Types

Treatment types include [8];

In general, treatments for Leiomyosarcoma may include:

  • Surgery: Surgery aims to remove the entire Leiomyosarcoma. But if the cancer has begun affecting other surrounding organs, this approach might not be viable. As an alternative, your surgeon might remove as much of the cancer as they can.
  • Radiation therapy: To kill cancer cells, radiation therapy employs powerful energy beams such as:

- Protons

- X-rays

First, you lie on a table during the therapy session. Following this, a machine moves around you and focuses energy beams into your body. After surgery, radiation therapy is a viable option to eradicate any surviving cancer cells.

  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy involves using drugs that destroy cancer cells. They do so by using powerful chemicals. If surgery is unable to completely remove the Leiomyosarcoma, your doctor may advise getting chemotherapy.
  • Targeted drug therapy. Targeted therapies/treatments concentrate on particular defects prevalent in cancer cells. These therapies can kill cancer cells by blocking such abnormalities. Advanced leiomyosarcoma patients might benefit from targeted medication therapy. Your doctor may perform a test on your cancer cells to see if you would benefit from taking this treatment.

Clinical Trials for Leiomyosarcoma

Fortunately, there are many more treatment options available than the ones above. Technology has paved the way for solutions that weren’t available before.

There have been many advancements in biological research and technology, allowing patients to enter clinical trials. This way, they are able to find better options with a better prognosis.

But, one must be active, healthy, and aware to enter such trials. If you are considering applying, speak to your doctor and health insurance provider first. Ensure reading up on these trials thoroughly. Most importantly, do not rush into them in hopes of finding a treatment. Trials also tend to have side effects.

So, make sure to:

  • Do your research
  • Ask questions from the authorities carrying out these trials
  • Speak to your doctor



Leiomyosarcoma can be challenging to diagnose earlier. This means it may be very late when you finally learn of your diagnosis. But this isn't always the case. The key is to watch out for all the symptoms in this guide.

The key is also to understand that the prognosis and treatments can vary from person to person. The information in this guide only aims to help you learn about the disease, its symptoms, prognosis, etc.

Moving on, you must discuss any concerns with your doctor before reaching conclusions about your symptoms. Not all signs and symptoms indicate the presence of Leiomyosarcoma.

Fortunately, early-stage Leiomyosarcoma is not aggressive. So, there's always a treatment option to consider. Clinical trials have also led to the emergence of more treatments. In conclusion, a patient's chances of survival are much better today than they were in the past.