Sarcoma is cancer of supporting tissues of our body, this includes bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, nerves and blood vessels. There are many types of sarcoma, which are grouped into bone sarcomas and soft tissue sarcomas.


on past sarcoma research


Cancer Research UK helped develop a drug used for gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GISTs)

Cancer Research UK researchers helped develop imatinib (Gleevec), one of the first targeted cancer drugs.

Today this drug is used around the world to treat advanced gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GISTs) – a type of sarcoma.

Imatinib (Gleevec) can control the growth of GISTs for several years or more, improving survival for patients around the world.


Cancer Research UK helped improve synovial sarcoma diagnosis

Cancer Research UK scientists identified two genes which are often faulty in people with synovial sarcoma – a type of sarcoma that most commonly affects children.

These genes are changed in a specific way that helps doctors diagnose this disease.


Cancer Research UK showed how a virus causes Kaposi’s sarcoma

Cancer Research UK scientists first suggested a link between the virus HHV8 and Kaposi’s sarcoma. Their later research then showed how HHV8 causes Kaposi’s sarcoma.

Kaposi’s sarcoma is a type of sarcoma that affects people with a weakened immune system, such as those with HIV. 

This finding provides scientists with a new target for treatments.

in sarcoma today


Cancer Research UK set up and continues to support the International Rare Cancers Initiative

Together, rare cancers make up more than 20% of all cancer cases. This includes several types of sarcoma, such as synovial sarcoma and sarcomas of the female reproductive system.

The International Rare Cancers Initiative (IRCI) is a joint initiative between global organizations including Cancer Research UK, the US National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the Canadian Cancer Trials Group.

The initiative is developing clinical trials worldwide to find new treatments for rare cancers. Right now, an international team brought together by the initiative is carrying out a clinical trial for sarcoma of the womb to help find the best way to treat this type of cancer.


Cancer Research UK is looking for ways to stop sarcoma coming back after surgery

Cancer Research UK researchers are looking to naked mole-rats for inspiration to improve surgery to remove sarcomas. 

These fascinating animals almost never get cancer, thanks to a substance in their cells called hyaluronan.

By studying the anti-cancer properties of hyaluronan, the researchers hope to produce a synthetic version, which could be applied during surgery to stop sarcoma from coming back.


Cancer Research UK is trialing new treatments for sarcoma

The Cancer Research UK Centre for Drug Development is currently testing a new drug for sarcoma with the company Bicycle Therapeutics, located in Cambridge, UK.

The drug is highly precise and only targets cancer cells, meaning it could be very effective with few side effects. It’s the first of a completely new type of drug to be tested in people.

If successful, this drug could one day transform the outlook for people across the world who have sarcoma and several other types of cancer.