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Health Information Center


  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:




Leiomyosarcoma is a rare soft tissue cancer. The cancer cells start and grow in smooth muscle. Smooth muscle is found throughout the body. These muscles help organs, blood vessels, and skin to function.

It can develop in any smooth muscle, but it is most common in the muscle of the uterus, abdomen, and pelvis.

Female Reproductive System.

Female Reproductive Organshttp://services.epnet.com/getimage.aspx?imageiid=24622462si55550940.jpgFemale Reproductive OrgansNULLjpgFemale Reproductive OrgansNULL\\filer01\Intellect\images\si55550940.jpgCopyright © 2002 Nucleus Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.20NULL2002-10-012553912462_965407Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


Cancer happens when cells divide without control or order. These cells grow together to form a tumor. They can invade and damage nearby tissues. They can also spread to other parts of the body.

It is not clear what causes changes in the cells. It is likely a combination of genes and the environment.

Risk Factors

Things that raise the risk of this problem are:

  • Past radiation treatment
  • Exposure to certain chemicals—in plastics or weed killers
  • Having other family members who have had it


There are often no symptoms. When symptoms occur, they vary depending on the site, size, and growth of the tumor. They may be:

  • A swelling or lump
  • Belly bloating
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Problems breathing
  • Pain
  • Numbness or muscle weakness


The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the affected area.

Tests may include:

Pictures will help show where the cancer is and how far it has spread.

Biopsy will confirm the diagnosis. The exam and test results will be used for staging. This will outline how far and fast the cancer has spread.


The goal is to remove the cancer. Treatment depends on the site, size, grade, and stage of the cancer. It also depends on the person's health and age. More than one method may be used. Options may be:

  • Surgery to remove:
    • The cancer and some nearby tissue
    • Lymph nodes in the area—if they are affected
    • Affected organs and structures—if needed
  • External or internal radiation therapy—to kill cancer cells or shrink tumors
  • Chemotherapy drugs by mouth, injection, or IV—to kill cancer cells


There are no current guidelines to prevent this health problem.





  • Juhasz-Böss I, Gabriel L, et al. Uterine leiomyosarcoma. Oncol Res Treat. 2018;41(11):680-686.
  • Leiomyosarcomas (LMS). MacMillian Cancer Support website. Available at: https://www.macmillan.org.uk/information-and-support/soft-tissue-sarcomas/leiomyosarcomas.
  • Leiomyosarcoma. The Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative website. Available at: http://sarcomahelp.org/leiomyosarcoma.html.
  • Sarcoma and bone cancer types. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.dana-farber.org/sarcoma-and-bone-cancer-treatment-center/cancer-types-and-programs.
  • Uterine leiomyosarcoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/uterine-leiomyosarcoma.


  • Elizabeth Margaret Prusak, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.