Alexandria Journal of Medicine

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Retrospective review of soft tissue sarcoma of head and neck in a West African hospital

AJ Fasunla, A Daniel


Background: Soft tissue sarcomas like other malignancies, impact negatively on patients and their caregivers as well as pose a challenge to the managing physician with variable treatment outcomes. A review of related studies on Medline has shown the paucity of the literature on the disease in the West African sub-region. This study was designed to determine the prevalence and highlight the clinicopathologic features of soft tissue sarcomas managed at a tertiary health institution in West Africa.
Methods: A 12-year retrospective review of medical records of patients managed with head and neck sarcomas at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria was carried out.
Results: There were 18 patients [12 (66.7%) males & 6 (33.3%) females]; ages ranging from 3 to 58 years. 16.7% of patients was children. The mean duration of symptoms was 10.5 months. The clinical presentation depended on the involved anatomical location and the most common anatomical location was the sinonasal region. Fourteen (77.8%) patients presented at advanced disease stage. Eight histologic sub-types were identified and rhabdomyosarcoma accounted for 44.4%. The treatment outcome was poor.
Conclusion: Head and neck sarcomas are rare in West Africa. They have heterogeneous histologic sub-types which may involve different anatomic sites. Although the prognoses of some sarcomas of the head and neck are poor due to their biological behaviours, late stage disease presentation might have contributed to the worse management outcome seen in this study.

Keywords: Clinicopathology; Head–neck; Sarcomas; Soft tissue; Tumours; West Africa
AJOL African Journals Online