Sarcoma and Solid Tumor Program

The Sarcoma and Solid Tumor Program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is one of the largest and most experienced programs of its kind in the country. Your child receives the highest-level medical care from a team of internationally recognized tumor specialists. We offer the latest treatments to help your child enjoy a full, active life.

Sarcoma and Solid Tumor Program: Why Choose Us

U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks CHLA one of the nation’s top children’s hospitals, as well as a national leader in pediatric cancer care. Our Oncology program—part of our nationally recognized Cancer and Blood Disease Institute—is the largest pediatric program of its kind in the Western United States.

At CHLA, your child benefits from:

  • Advanced diagnostic tests: We’re one of a select few children’s hospitals in the nation with an on-site lab that conducts molecular (genetic) testing of all solid tumors. Our speedy test results mean your child can quickly start the right treatment.
  • Comprehensive treatments: Your child benefits from the latest, most advanced therapies. Treatment options include surgery, bone marrow transplants and organ transplants. We also offer new therapies such as chemoembolization and MIBG therapy, an advanced radiation therapy for high-risk neuroblastoma only available at a few select centers in the country.
  • Dedicated care team and clinic: Our program brings together a team of top experts recognized for their expertise in various subspecialties. This team meets several times a month to review cases and develop treatment plans. At our Solid Tumor Clinic, your child sees multiple specialists who address a variety of healthcare needs during one visit.
  • Innovative research: Our doctors are international leaders in groundbreaking research to advance the understanding and treatment of sarcomas and solid tumors in children. Children with newly diagnosed solid tumors or those whose tumors return (recurrent disease) may benefit from new therapies available in one of our many clinical trials.
  • Support for teens and young adults: As part of our Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer and Blood Disease Service, all teens and young adults diagnosed with solid tumors receive fertility counseling before starting treatments. We offer a variety of other support services through our Survivorship and Supportive Care Program.

What Are Sarcomas and Solid Tumors?

We diagnose and treat children who have:

  • Solid tumors: These clumps of abnormal cells form in bones, tissues and organs. Solid tumors may be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
  • Sarcomas: These rare, cancerous solid tumors form in bones and connective tissue that surrounds bones and joints.

Specialized Diagnostic Tests

Diagnostic tests for solid tumors vary depending on the tumor type and location. We offer:

  • Blood tests: These tests check for tumor markers and evaluate organ function.
  • Genetic testing: Specialists in our Center for Personalized Medicine check for tumor markers and gene changes (mutations) that may affect your child’s treatment plan.
  • Imaging scans: We use sophisticated radiology and imaging technology, including an ultrafast CT scan. We also use ultrasounds, MRIs and EOS low-radiation X-rays.
  • Liquid biopsies: Our doctors pioneered the development of liquid biopsies using blood samples to detect gene changes in solid tumors. This test aids diagnosis when surgery or a tumor biopsy isn’t possible.
  • Tumor biopsies: Our pediatric surgeons remove small samples of tumor tissue to check for cancer cells and tumor markers.

Leading-Edge Treatments for Sarcomas and Solid Tumors

Sarcomas and solid tumors in children are uncommon, and their treatments are often complex. We offer the newest and most advanced treatments, many of which are not widely available at other centers.

These solid tumor treatments include:

  • Surgery: When possible, we surgically remove solid tumors while preserving surrounding healthy tissue, muscles and bone.
  • Chemotherapy and chemoembolization: Chemotherapy medications travel through the bloodstream to shrink tumors. We were one of the first hospitals in the country to successfully offer chemoembolization to children. This treatment delivers medications directly into an artery that supplies blood to a tumor. The drugs cut off blood flow, destroying the tumor.
  • Radiation therapy: Our nationally accredited Radiation Oncology Program is one of only three programs in the country focused exclusively on children. We offer all types of radiation oncology treatments. We’re one of the few centers where children can receive radioactive iodine therapy as a thyroid cancer treatment.
  • MIBG therapy: We were the first children’s hospital in Southern California—and remain one of a few in the Southwest—to use MIBG therapy (metaiodobenzylguanidine) for neuroblastoma. This IV radiation therapy sends radioactive iodine that binds to MIBG through a vein. MIBG helps the radioactive iodine find and target cancer cells. We also use MIBG as a diagnostic tool to locate tumors in the body.
  • Immunotherapy and targeted therapy: These medications help the immune system find and destroy cancer cells. Our doctors are active in international research efforts to evaluate the safety and efficacy of these treatments on childhood cancers.
  • Organ transplants: In rare instances, a child with a solid tumor in an organ needs a transplant. Our Liver Transplant Program and Kidney Transplant Program are among the most successful in the country, with survival outcomes that consistently meet or exceed national averages.
  • Radiofrequency ablation: This treatment uses heat (radiofrequency waves) to shrink solid tumors.
  • Stem cell transplants: Children with neuroblastoma may undergo a stem cell transplant to replace damaged stem cells with healthy ones. This treatment takes place at our Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Center, the largest in the nation.

Team approach to care

We take a coordinated team approach to treating children who have sarcomas and solid tumors. Regardless of the diagnosis, we have pediatric tumor specialists with the expertise to help.

Depending on the tumor type, your child’s care team may include:

  • Bladder, kidney and genital specialists (urologists)
  • Kidney specialists (nephrologists)
  • Liver specialists (hepatologists)
  • Neurosurgeons
  • Oncologists and radiation oncologists (cancer specialists)
  • Orthopedic surgeons
  • Plastic surgeons
  • Vision specialists (ophthalmologists)
  • Nurses and nurse care managers
  • Registered dietitians
  • Social workers
  • Child Life specialists

Sarcomas and Solid Tumors We Treat

Our team of specialists treats common solid tumors, as well as rare and complex ones. These tumors include:

  • Genitourinary tumors: We offer advanced treatments for Wilms tumors in the kidneys, germ cell tumors that affect the reproductive organs (ovaries or testicles), and bladder and ureter tumors.
  • Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH): This rare cancer starts in cells that fight infections. Cancerous cells can build up and form tumors that damage tissues and bones.
  • Liver tumors: Liver tumors affect liver function and include hepatoblastoma, the most common liver cancer in children. Our Liver Tumor Program treats more children with liver tumors than almost any other pediatric medical center in the country.
  • Neuroblastoma: This cancer forms in nerve tissue in the adrenal glands, neck, chest and spinal cord. It’s the second most common solid tumor in children, and typically affects children younger than 5. CHLA has one of the country’s largest and most experienced Neuroblastoma Programs.
  • Retinoblastoma: This cancerous tumor affects one or both eyes. We use a special type of liquid biopsy developed at CHLA to diagnose these tumors without removing an eye. Doctors in our Retinoblastoma Program also spearheaded a way to deliver chemotherapy through an artery in the eye to directly target the tumor.
  • Sarcomas: If a sarcoma or tumor affects bones in an arm or leg, our renowned orthopedic surgeons expertly perform advanced treatments, including limb salvage procedures. Learn more about our bone and soft tissue tumor treatments performed at our Jackie and Gene Autry Orthopedic Center.
  • Thyroid tumors: We partner with experts in our Center for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism—ranked among the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report—to treat tumors that affect the thyroid gland.

Tumor Care at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Children’s Hospital gives your child access to advanced treatments and leading-edge care for sarcomas and solid tumors. Learn more about our Oncology programs and services.

Contact us

The Cancer and Blood Disease Institute welcomes new patients, referrals and second opinions. Please call us to make an appointment.