Patterns of recurrence in patients with high-grade soft-tissue sarcomas

D. A. Potter, J. Glenn, T. Kinsella, E. Glatstein, E. E. Lack, C. Restrepo, D. E. White, C. A. Seipp, R. Wesley, S. A. Rosenberg

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From July 1975 to December 1982, 563 patients were referred to the Surgery Branch of the National Cancer Institute with the diagnosis of soft-tissue sarcoma. Three hundred and seven of these patients had fully resectable, localized high-grade soft-tissue sarcomas and were treated at the National Cancer Institute using standard protocols with surgery alone, or in combination with chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy. An aggressive surgical approach was undertaken in the management of patients who subsequently developed recurrent disease. These 307 cases have been reviewed, with a median duration of folow-up of 30 months, to determine the frequency of recurrent disease, the patterns of recurrence, and the impact of surgery on the survival of patients who developed recurrent disease. Disease recurred in one hundred seven patients (107/307, 35%), with a median disease-free interval of 18 months (range, 0.5 to 72.0 months). The frequency of recurrence by site of primary sarcoma was extremity, 31% (65/211); head and neck, 33% (4/12); trunk, 40% (17/42); retroperitoneum, 47% (17/36); and breast, 67% (4/6). Isolated pulmonary metastatic disease was the most common pattern of initial recurrence (56/107, 52%) followed by isolated local recurrence (21/107, 20%). Single other sites of recurrence and multiple concurrent sites of recurrence each accounted for 14% (15/107) of all initial recurrences. The relative frequency of each of these four patterns of recurrence varied with the site of the primary sarcoma. The outcome for patients with recurrent disease depended on the site of recurrence, rather than on the site of the primary sarcoma. Sixty-six patients (66/107, 62%) with recurrent disease were rendered surgically disease-free with the first recurrence, including 40 (40/56, 72%) patients with isolated pulmonary metastases, 20 patients (20/21), 96%) with isolated local recurrences, five patients (5/15, 33%), with isolated other sites of recurrence and one patient (1/15, 7%) with multiple sites of initial recurrence. Following surgical resection, the actuarial three-year survival for the 66 patients rendered disease-free was 51%. The median survival for the 41 patients not rendered surgically disease-free with the first recurrence was only 7.4 months. Thirty of the sixty-six patients (30/66, 45%) rendered disease-free with the first recurrence remained disease-free at follow-up, with a median follow-up of 28 months from the time of resection of the first recurrence. The remaining 36 patients (36/66, 55%) subsequently recurred, with a median disease-free interval of 7.3 months. Sixteen (44%) of the 36 patients could be rendered disease-free by resection of the second recurrence, although at follow-up only four of these patients remained disease-free.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-366
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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