Epidemiological trends of dermal sarcoma in Australia

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Dr Edward Gibson https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1629-1557
Dr Roger Woods https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2787-1562
Dr Alexa Potter
Jessica Leigh Reid
Jennie Louise
Dr Gelareh Farshid
Dr Taryn Bessen
Dr Susan Neuhaus https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6520-6892


Australia, incidence, skin neoplasms, sarcoma, malignant fibrous histiocytoma


Background: Sarcomas comprise a heterogenous group of malignant tumours of mesenchymal origin and can arise in the skin. Definitive management of skin sarcoma usually entails surgical resection with wide margins, often requiring reconstruction. The incidence and demographics of these neoplasms in Australia are poorly understood.
Method: Incidence, gender and age distribution data for skin sarcomas for the period 1982–2009 were obtained from the Australian Cancer Database (ACD). Morphology and topographical region coding via the International Classification of Diseases for Oncology third edition (ICD-O-3)1 were used to identify the data.
Results: A total of 5453 cases of skin sarcoma in the Australian population were identified over the 28-year period. Anatomically, 1610 cases (29%) occurred on the limbs, 1416 (26%) on the head and neck area, 957 (18%) on the trunk and 1470 (27%) had an unspecified skin origin. Overall incidence was 2.09 per 100,000 population. Males were more commonly affected (70%), most commonly in the 30–49 years and 70+ years age groups. The most common pathological subtypes were fibromatous sarcoma (including dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans), Kaposi’s sarcoma and pleomorphic dermal sarcoma.
Conclusion: The Australian Cancer Database data used to describe the pattern and epidemiological trends for skin sarcoma in Australia demonstrated variation from international trends and highlight the need for further research into the aetiology of these tumours.

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