Angiosarcoma Definition, Reason, Symptom, Treatment, Prevention

Angiosarcoma Definition, Reason, Symptom, Treatment, Prevention


Angiosarcoma is a type of cancer that is quite rare, involving the lining of blood vessels and lymph vessels. The lymph vessels, which are part of the immune system, collect bacteria, viruses, and waste products from the body and excrete them.

Angiosarcoma can occur anywhere on the body, but is most common on the skin on the head and neck. In rarer cases, angiosarcoma can develop on the skin or other parts of the body, such as the breasts. Alternatively, the condition can also form in deeper tissues, such as the liver or heart. Angiosarcoma can occur in any part of the body that has previously been exposed to radiation therapy.

Treatment of angiosarcoma depends on the location of the cancer. Treatment options may include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.


The exact cause of angiosarcoma is not known, but experts have identified factors that can increase the risk of developing the disease. It is suspected that there are things that cause mutations in the genetic code of the cells lining blood vessels or lymph vessels.

These mutations make cells to grow faster, which makes the number of abnormal cells increase. Abnormal cells remain alive even when other cells die.

The result of the condition is a buildup of abnormal cells that grow from the involved blood or lymph vessels. Over time, cells can rupture and spread to other parts of the body.

Some of the factors that are thought to increase the risk of angiosarcoma are:

  • Radiation therapy. Treating cancer or other conditions using radiation can increase the risk of angiosarcoma. However, it is generally a rare complication of radiation therapy and typically occurs about 5 to 10 years after radiation exposure.
  • Swelling caused by damage to the lymph vessels (lymphedema). Lymphedema is swelling caused by the accumulation of lymph fluid due to damage or blockage in the lymphatic system.

Lymphedema can also occur in response to infection or other conditions, as well as in some conditions where surgical removal of the lymph nodes is required.

  • Chemicals. Angiosarcoma of the liver is associated with exposure to certain types of chemicals, including vinyl chloride and arsenic.


Signs and symptoms of angiosarcoma can vary, depending on the location of cancer. Often, angiosarcoma occurs on the skin on the head and neck, especially the head.

Signs and symptoms of this type of angiosarcoma may include the appearance of raised, purplish areas of the skin resembling bruising, the presence of bruising-like lesions that get larger over time, the presence of lesions that can bleed when bumped or scratched, and swelling of the surrounding skin.

In angiosarcomas that affect organs, such as the liver or heart, symptoms often include pain. Other symptoms depend on the location of the angiosarcoma.


The diagnosis of lymphedema can be made based on a detailed medical interview, direct physical examination, and certain investigations if deemed necessary.

Some of the types of investigations that can be carried out are:

  • Biopsy. A biopsy is a procedure for taking tissue samples for further evaluation in the laboratory. Analysis performed in the laboratory can detect cancer cells and determine certain characteristics of cancer cells that can guide treatment decisions.
  • Imaging examination. Imaging tests can give the doctor an idea of ​​the degree of cancer experienced. Tests performed may include computerized tomography (CT)magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or positron emission tomography (PET).


Determining the type of treatment for angiosarcoma depends on the location, size, and spread of the cancer to other parts of the body. Treatment options for angiosarcoma include:

  • Surgery

The goal of surgery is to completely remove the angiosarcoma. Doctors can remove the cancer as well as some of the healthy tissue that surrounds it. However, in some cases, surgery cannot be performed, for example if the cancer cells are very large or have spread to other parts of the body.

  • Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays, such as X-rays and protons, to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy is sometimes used after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells. In addition, radiation therapy can also be an option if the patient is not indicated to undergo a surgical procedure.

  • Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a type of treatment that uses medications or chemicals to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be an option if the angiosarcoma has spread to other parts of the body. In some cases, chemotherapy can be combined with radiation therapy if the patient is not indicated for surgery.


Since the exact cause of angiosarcoma is not known, there is no fully effective prevention method to prevent this condition from occurring.

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