Sarcoma Program

The Sarcoma Program in the Department of Radiation Oncology uses state-of-the-art radiation therapies to treat soft tissue and bone tumors, both malignant and benign.

Our Approach

Mass General’s Center for Sarcoma & Connective Tissue Oncology, part of the Cancer Center, is one of the largest and most specialized centers to treat malignant and benign tumors. Here, our radiation oncologists collaborate with your entire treatment team, which may include medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, orthopaedic oncologists, diagnostic and interventional radiologists and pathologists.

Working closely with these specialists, our practitioners integrate radiation therapy into your treatment plan, which also may involve chemotherapy and/or surgery. Our oncologists' expertise includes using the most advanced techniques and innovative technologies, such as proton therapy, a treatment available at few U.S. hospitals.

Our team treats the complete spectrum of sarcomas and benign tumors, such as:

Accomplished Radiation Oncologists

Every step of your radiation therapy is managed by an experienced radiation oncologist who has dedicated his or her career to treating patients with sarcomas. Our physicians are some of the leading practitioners in the field:

  • Thomas DeLaney, MD, program chief and medical director of the Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center, is a world-renowned authority on the treatment of bone and soft-tissue sarcomas. Dr. DeLaney has introduced many breakthrough technologies, runs innovative clinical trials aimed at improving patient outcomes and collaborates with leading medical and surgical oncologists to develop new treatment methods. He has published extensively on the treatment of sarcomas.
  • Norbert Liebsch, MD, PhD, is an expert in using proton therapy to treat complicated sarcomas of the cranial base and spine. An accomplished researcher and educator, Dr. Liebsch has practiced radiation oncology for more than 25 years
  • Yen-Lin Chen, MD, specializes in using advanced radiation methods, including proton therapy, to treat sarcomas, connective-tissue tumors and benign conditions in young adults and adults

Improving Care Through Innovation

Mass General's Herman Suit, MD, PhD, helped pioneer the treatment of soft tissue sarcomas with radiation therapy. Today our radiation oncologists continue this rich tradition of innovation, performing groundbreaking research and applying their advances to improve quality of life for our patients.

Many breakthroughs in treating sarcomas were introduced at Mass General, such as:

  • Proton beam therapy: Our oncologists were among the first in the country to treat sarcomas with proton beam therapy. This innovative treatment protects organs and tissues beyond the tumor region when compared with conventional photon therapy. Intensity modulated proton therapy (IMPT) is now available to provide the most conformal radiation doses to the tumor with maximal sparing of normal tissue.
  • Image guided radiation therapy (IGRT): Mass General was among the first institutions to use this technology on a routine basis to improve the accuracy of daily radiation therapy
  • CT-based radiation therapy treatment planning
  • Dural applicator plaque for radiation therapy of spine sarcoma: Our team developed this brachytherapy technique (internal radiotherapy using implants), which delivers high doses of radiation to tumor cells while protecting the highly sensitive spinal cord from radiation exposure
  • Preservation of limbs and tissue: Using various radiation therapies, sometimes in conjunction with surgery, we have developed techniques that enable more patients to retain their limbs and their limb function. Also, we integrate radiation therapy with surgery and/or chemotherapy to treat tumors in bones that cannot be removed, such as the spine and pelvis

We also offer the full range of 3D conformal radiation therapy techniques including intensity modulated proton therapy (IMPT), intensity modulated photon therapy (IMRT), stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), image guided radiation therapy (IGRT), therapies,low- and high-dose rate brachytherapy, pre-operative radiation treatment of sarcomas and intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT), a technique in which patients receive radiotherapy during surgery.

What to Expect

We encourage you to ask us about any step in the treatment process, from understanding the safety of your therapy to managing side effects. The answers to many frequently asked questions also appear in Your Guide to Radiation Therapy (PDF).

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell cancer, sometimes called non-melanoma skin cancer, usually appears as a small, fleshy bump or nodule on the head, neck, or hands. Occasionally, these nodules appear on the trunk of the body, usually as flat growths.

Bone Cancers

There are different types of bone cancers, which are typically defined as a malignant (cancerous) tumor of the bone that destroys normal bone tissue.

Cardiac Sarcoma

Cardiac sarcoma is a type of tumor that occurs in the heart. Cardiac sarcoma is a primary malignant (cancerous) tumor.

Chondroblastoma

Sometimes called Codman's tumor, a chondroblastoma is a rare type of benign bone tumor that originates from cartilage.

Chondrosarcoma

Chondrosarcoma is a type of bone cancer that develops in cartilage cells.

Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma

Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma is a disease caused when T-lymphocytes become malignant and affect the skin. T-lymphocytes are the infection-fighting white blood cells in the lymph system that kill harmful bacteria in the body, among other things.

Ewing Sarcoma

Ewing sarcoma is a cancer that occurs primarily in the bone or soft tissue.

Giant Cell Tumor

A giant cell tumor is one that is made up of a large number of benign (non-cancerous) cells that form an aggressive tumor - usually near the end of the bone near a joint.

Melanoma

Melanoma is a disease of the skin in which cancer cells are found in the melanocytes, the cells that produce color in the skin or pigment known as melanin.

Merkel Cell Cancer

Merkel cell cancer is also known as neuroendocrine cancer of the skin, or trabecular cancer.

Myeloma Bone Disease / Multiple Myeloma

Myeloma bone disease is cancer that affects certain white blood cells called plasma cells.

Osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma is a type of bone cancer that develops in the osteoblast cells that form the outer covering of bone.

Other Types of Skin Cancer: Kaposi's Sarcoma / Paget's Disease

Kaposi's sarcoma is a skin cancer that starts in the skin's blood vessels. Kaposi's sarcoma comes in two forms: a slow-growing form, and a more aggressive, faster-spreading form.

Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is a malignant tumor that grows in the skin cells and accounts for more than 50 percent of all cancers.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell skin cancer (sometimes referred to as non-melanoma carcinoma) may appear as nodules, or as red, scaly patches of skin.

The Katherine A. Gallagher Integrative Therapies Program

The Katherine A. Gallagher Integrative Therapies Program focuses on improving the quality of life and well-being of Cancer Center patients, their families and friends through free wellness services such as acupuncture and yoga. These services help you take care of your whole self — mind, body and spirit.

Maxwell V. Blum Cancer Resource Center

The Maxwell V. Blum Cancer Resource Center is a program that offers a range of support resources around the Cancer Center. The center has an ongoing mission to make support services, as well as respite and community-building areas, more accessible to patients and families throughout the Cancer Center.

Your Guide to Radiation Therapy (PDF)

Read our patient information guide to learn more about the different types of radiation treatments and what patients can expect.

Oncology Chaplaincy

Our oncology chaplain is familiar with the unique needs of those with cancer.

The following related clinical trials and research studies are currently seeking participants at Massachusetts General Hospital. Search for clinical trials and studies in another area of interest.

Facts and tips for healthy sleeping habits

The National Sleep Foundation recommends children ages 6 to 12 sleep 10-11 hours per night. With a new study published in Pediatrics by MassGeneral Hospital for Children researchers linking reduced sleep and obesity, encouraging healthy sleeping habits in children has taken on a new precedence. The study's researchers, led by Elsie Taveras, MD, MPH, chief of General Pediatrics at MGHfC, offer some facts and tips to help parents ensure their kids get a good night’s sleep.

The Katherine A. Gallagher Integrative Therapies Program

The Katherine A. Gallagher Integrative Therapies Program focuses on improving the quality of life and well-being of Cancer Center patients, their families and friends through free wellness services such as acupuncture and yoga. These services help you take care of your whole self — mind, body and spirit.

Maxwell V. Blum Cancer Resource Center

The Maxwell V. Blum Cancer Resource Center is a program that offers a range of support resources around the Cancer Center. The center has an ongoing mission to make support services, as well as respite and community-building areas, more accessible to patients and families throughout the Cancer Center.

Your Guide to Radiation Therapy (PDF)

Read our patient information guide to learn more about the different types of radiation treatments and what patients can expect.

Oncology Chaplaincy

Our oncology chaplain is familiar with the unique needs of those with cancer.

Clark Center for Radiation Oncology

Vida E & Arthur L. Goldstein Lunder Building
Lunder Building LL3
55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114

Phone: 617-726- 8651
Fax: 857-238-6377
Email: InformationRadOnc@Partners.org

Public Transportation Access: yes
Disabled Access: yes

Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center
30 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-726-0923 (Proton Inquiry Line: 617-724-1680)
Fax: 617-726-6498
Email: InformationRadOnc@partners.org