Causes and Risk Factors of Fibrosarcoma

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The exact cause of fibrosarcoma is a mystery, but certain risk factors put you at a higher risk. In this article, we will discuss important risk factors that you should consider and how your genetics may play a role. 

Potential Fibrosarcoma Risk Factors - Illustration by Jessica Olah

Verywell / Jessica Olah

Common Causes

There is no known cause of fibrosarcoma. Like most cancers, the exact reason this type of cancer develops is a mystery, but certain genetic mutations can increase your risk.

Exposure to certain chemicals such as herbicides and arsenic may also increase your risk of fibrosarcoma and other types of soft tissue sarcomas.

Preexisting bone lesions or irradiated tissues (such as those exposed to prior radiation treatment for other cancer) may give rise to secondary fibrosarcoma of the bone.

Widespread scar tissue formation after a burn or injury may also put you at a higher risk of developing this rare disease.


Research to explain the link between our genes and the development of fibrosarcoma is ongoing. Research has found that fibrosarcoma tumors are more likely to develop in those with inherited conditions such as:

  • Neurofibromatosis type 1: Causes tumors to form around the nerves
  • Tuberous sclerosis: A rare condition in which noncancerous tumors form in many parts of the body
  • Werner syndrome: A rare progressive disorder causing an appearance of accelerated aging (progeria)
  • Gorlin syndrome: A condition that increases the risk of developing skin cancer at an early age
  • Li-Fraumeni syndrome: Increases the risk of many different types of cancer, including more than one during a lifetime and at an earlier age than usual
  • Gardner syndrome: A rare condition that increases the risk of colon polyps and colon cancer at an early age
  • Retinoblastoma: A genetic condition that causes eye cancer, most commonly in children

Genetic sequencing and advanced molecular techniques have also revealed a range of potential genetic mutations, including p53, RB, PI3K, and IDH genes, that may play a role in the development of fibrosarcoma.

These genetic mutations are also potential therapeutic targets that may lead to the development of targeted treatment of different sarcoma subtypes. For this reason, sarcoma-targeting immunotherapies and gene editing (or genome editing, which can change an organism's hereditary material) are two promising treatment techniques.

Lifestyle Factors

While lifestyle factors such as smoking, diet, and exercise have not been linked to increased risk for soft tissue sarcomas such as fibrosarcoma, it is important to note that maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, exercising, and eating a healthy diet are helpful strategies for reducing your overall cancer risk.


There is no known cause of fibrosarcoma. However, there are some factors that may increase your risk, including radiation exposure during prior cancer treatment, exposure to certain chemicals like herbicides, and widespread scar tissue from a burn or injury. Certain genetic mutations have also been associated with an increased likelihood of developing fibrosarcoma.

A Word From Verywell

Although the precise cause of fibrosarcoma is unknown, genetic sequencing and advances in medical technology have provided some hope for some answers and the potential for targeted therapeutic interventions in the future.

Avoiding risk factors like exposure to toxic chemicals such as vinyl chloride, arsenic, and dioxin and living a healthy lifestyle further lower your risk of developing fibrosarcoma, although the overall risk of having this condition is exceedingly rare. 

4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Augsburger D, Nelson PJ, Kalinski T, et al. Current diagnostics and treatment of fibrosarcoma -perspectives for future therapeutic targets and strategiesOncotarget. 2017;8(61):104638-104653. doi:10.18632/oncotarget.20136

  2. Farid M, Ngeow J. Sarcomas associated with genetic cancer predisposition syndromes: a review. Oncologist. 2016;21(8):1002-1013. doi:10.1634/theoncologist.2016-0079

  3. Gao P, Seebacher NA, Hornicek F, Guo Z, Duan Z. Advances in sarcoma gene mutations and therapeutic targets. Cancer Treat Rev. 2018;62:98-109. doi:10.1016/j.ctrv.2017.11.001

  4. American Cancer Society. Risk factors for soft tissue sarcomas.

By Shamard Charles, MD, MPH
Shamard Charles, MD, MPH is a public health physician and journalist. He has held positions with major news networks like NBC reporting on health policy, public health initiatives, diversity in medicine, and new developments in health care research and medical treatments.