Soft Tissue Tumors, Benign


Outside Approval Square

There are a wide variety of soft tissue tumors that can occur throughout the body. Please see Soft Tissue Cancer for a discussion of malignant tumors. 

Benign soft tissue tumors are non cancerous but also can occur in multiple areas of the body. The most common benign soft tissue tumor is the lipoma, comprised of fat. Others involve different types of soft tissues including arteriovenous malformations, which are composed of aberrant blood vessels and can cause local pain and even swelling of an entire extremity.


Clinical Trials Square Observation of benign tumors is common, but some can cause pain or other problematic issues due to the size of the tumor and its impact on adjacent tissue. Surgery is a common practice for removal of the tumor. In working up a tumor, it is possible that the tumor may appear to be benign, but may contain malignancy as well. Careful evaluation of the tumor may require MRI or other diagnostic evaluations to ensure the correct diagnosis prior to surgery.

Focused Ultrasound

Focused ultrasound may offer a noninvasive way to destroy soft tissue disease. Using imaging guidance, the physician directs a focused beam of acoustic energy toward the tumor. This energy heats and kills tumor cells without damaging surrounding tissue. As a non-invasive procedure, focused ultrasound might offer the following benefits:
  • It offers shorter recovery time with fewer complications.
  • Because it does not use ionizing radiation, it can be repeated as often as needed.
  • Patients can avoid the long-term effects of radiation or chemotherapy.
  • Can be used in locations that are difficult or impossible to access with conventional surgery

Surgery and observation are the standard of care for soft tissue tumors. There have been cases treated with focused ultrasound, as the patients prefer the non-invasive approach as well as the rapid recovery with fewer complications. This use is still early in development, and is generally not available outside of clinical trials.

Clinical Trials

A clinical trial is currently enrolling patients at Stanford University, exploring the feasibility of focused ultrasound for the ablation of soft tissue tumors (benign and malignant) of the extremities. To inquire about treatment in this trial, contact Raffi Avedian, MD at 650-721 7618 or  or Pejman Ghanouni, MD, PhD at 650-498-4485 or .

A clinical trial at the Children’s National Medical Center, in Washington, D.C. is currently enrolling children and young adult patients who have a wide variety of relapsed or refractory tumors for ablative therapy. To inquire about this trial, contact Stephanie Forlenza, at 202-476-6841 or .

A clinical trial at the Children’s National Medical Center, in Washington, D.C. is currently enrolling children and young adult patients who have a wide variety of relapsed or refractory tumors for a combination of liposomal doxorubicin and focused ultrasound therapy. To learn more about this trial, contact Stephanie Forlenza at 202-476-6841 or at .

See a list of all soft tissue tumor clinical trials here

Treatment Sites

Please see a list of treatment sites here

Regulatory & Reimbursement

The Model JC Haifu system has received regulatory approval in Europe for treatment of soft tissue tumors, including sarcomas. At present, focused ultrasound is not universally reimbursed for treatment of soft tissue sarcomas.

Patient Advocacy

Several organizations worldwide support patients with soft tissue sarcomas. Among them are:

Desmoid Tumor Research Foundation, which encourages you to join the DTRF Patient Registry in order to facilitate research efforts. With access to your experience as a patient, researchers will be able to continue learning and making new discoveries in the field of desmoid tumors. If you have ever had a desmoid tumor, you can participate. For more information, visit

Sarcoma Alliance, which works to improve the lives of patients affected by sarcomas through better diagnostic accuracy, improved access to care, education, and support. For more information, visit

Sarcoma Patients Euronet, which works with clinical experts, research scientists, industry, and others to improve treatment and care for sarcoma patients in Europe by increasing awareness and providing patients with support and information. For more information, visit

Notable Papers

Bitton RR, Webb TD, Pauly KB, Ghanouni P. Improving thermal dose accuracy in magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound surgery: Long-term thermometry using a prior baseline as a reference. J Magn Reson Imaging. 2016 Jan;43(1):181-9. doi: 10.1002/jmri.24978.

Ghanouni P, Butts Pauly K, Bitton R, Avedian R, Bucknor M,Gold G. MR guided focused ultrasound treatment of soft tissue tumors of the extremities — preliminary experience. J Ther Ultrasound. 2015; 3(Suppl 1): O69.

Cline HE, Hynynen K, Hardy CJ, Watkins RD, Schenck JF, Jolesz FA. MR temperature mapping of focused ultrasound surgery. Magn Reson Med. 1994 Jun;31(6):628-36.

Click here for additional references from PubMed.