Surgical management of soft tissue sarcomas of the hand and foot

Patrick P. Lin, Volkan B. Guzel, Peter W.T. Pisters, Gunar K. Zagars, Kristin L. Weber, Barry W. Feig, Raphael E. Pollock, Alan W. Yasko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. Soft tissue sarcomas of the hand and foot present unique management challenges. The purpose of the current study study was to determine oncologic outcome, particularly with respect to factors affecting local recurrence, distant recurrence, and disease-specific survival. METHODS. A retrospective study was performed on 115 patients with soft tissue sarcomas of the hand or foot who were evaluated, treated, and followed at the authors' institution between 1980 and 1998. The medical records and radiographs were reviewed. Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to assess patient survival. RESULTS. Most patients (95%) were referred after previous surgery. The majority of tumors (75%) were T1 lesions (less than 5 cm), and most tumors (81%) were high grade. Patients who were treated by definitive, wide re-excision (n = 43) had a 10 year local recurrence-free survival of 88%, which was significantly better than the corresponding rate of 58% for patients who did not have re-excision (n = 40, P = 0.05). Radiation improved local control in patients who did not undergo re-excision (n = 17, P = 0,02). However, radiation did not improve local control in patients who had definitive re-excision with negative margins (n = 13, P = 0.51). The disease-specific survival at 5 and 10 years was 76% and 65%, respectively, for patients who presented with localized disease. Disease-specific patient survival was significantly worse for patients who had regional or distant metastasis. Radical amputation as initial surgical treatment did not decrease the likelihood of regional metastasis and did not improve disease-specific patient survival. The presence of distant metastasis at presentation was an independent predictor of local recurrence. CONCLUSION. Limb sparing treatment is possible in many patients with soft tissue sarcomas of the hand and foot. Re-excision to achieve microscopically negative surgical margins is an effective method of achieving a high rate of local control in appropriately selected patients who present after unplanned excision of the primary tumor. There does not appear to be a survival benefit to immediate radical amputation, which should be reserved for cases where surgical excision or re-excision with adequate margins cannot be performed without sacrifice of functionally significant neurovascular or osseous structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)852-861
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 15 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Connective and soft tissue
  • Foot
  • Hand
  • Local neoplasm recurrence
  • Neoplasm
  • Radiation
  • Soft tissue sarcoma
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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