Investigators at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) report improved survival in patients with soft tissue sarcoma of the extremities as a result of treatment that includes surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
Soft tissue sarcomas are relatively rare but aggressive solid tumors, occurring most often in people in their 20s through 40s. About 5,000 cases occur each year, two thirds of them in the extremities. Traditional treatment (surgical excision of the tumor or amputation) has resulted in three- to five-year survival rates of about 40% in virtually all reported series, according to Steven A. Rosenberg, MD, chief, NCI surgery branch and principal investigator.
But in clinical trials on 107 patients, Rosenberg and colleagues at NCI's radiation oncology and medicine branches obtained a three-year disease-free survival rate of 91% and an overall three-year survival rate of 93% among patients receiving the combination therapy. The three-year results are promising because 80% of all