Survival after induction chemotherapy and surgical resection for high-grade soft tissue sarcoma. Is radiation necessary?

Ann Surg Oncol. 2001 Jul; 8(6): 484-95
Henshaw RM, Priebat DA, Perry DJ, Shmookler BM, Malawer MM

BACKGROUND: Induction chemotherapy can produce dramatic necrosis in sarcomas-raising the question of whether or not radiation is necessary. This study reviews the clinical outcome of a subset of patients with high-grade extremity soft tissue sarcomas (STS) who were treated with induction chemotherapy and surgical resection but without radiation.

METHODS: Nonmetastatic, large, high-grade STS of the pelvis and extremities were treated with intra-arterial cisplatin, adriamycin, and, after 1995, ifosfamide. After induction, oncologic resection and histologic evaluation were performed. Good responders with good surgical margins were not treated with radiation.

RESULTS: Thirty-three patients, with a median follow-up of 5 years, were included. Limb salvage rate was 94%. Median tumor necrosis was 95%. Four patients developed metastatic disease with three subsequent deaths. Two local recurrences occurred; both patients were salvaged with reresection and adjuvant external beam radiotherapy, although one died of metastatic disease 10 years later. Relapse-free and overall survival is 80% and 88% at 5 and 10 years by Kaplan-Meier analysis.

CONCLUSIONS: Intensive induction chemotherapy can be extremely effective for high-grade STS, permitting limb-sparing surgery in lieu of amputation. Radiation may not be necessary if a good response to induction chemotherapy and negative wide margins are achieved. All patients with large, deep, high-grade STS of the extremities should be considered candidates for induction chemotherapy.

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