Radiotherapy for Soft Tissue Sarcomas after Isolated Limb Perfusion and Surgical Resection: Essential for Local Control in All Patients?
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Background: Standard treatment for localized soft tissue sarcoma (STS) is resection plus adjuvant radiotherapy (RTx). In approximately 10% of cases, resection would cause severe loss of function or even require amputation because of the extent of disease. Isolated limb perfusion (ILP) with tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and melphalan can achieve regression of the tumor, facilitating limb-saving resection. RTx improves local control but may lead to increased morbidity. Methods: In our database of over 500 ILPs, 122 patients with unifocal STS were treated by ILP followed by limb-sparing surgery. All included patients were candidates for amputation. Results: Surgery resulted in 69 R0 resections (57%), and in 53 specimens (43%) resection margins contained microscopic evidence of tumor (R1). Histopathological examination revealed >50% ILP-induced tumor necrosis in 59 cases (48%). RTx was administered in 73 patients (60%). Local recurrence rate was 21% after median follow-up of 31 months (2-182 months). Recurrence was significantly less in patients with >50% ILP-induced necrosis versus ≤50% necrosis (7% vs. 33%, P = 0.001). A similar significant correlation was observed for R0 versus R1 resections (15% vs. 28%, P = 0.04). In 36 patients with R0 resection and >50% necrosis, of whom 21 were spared RTx, no recurrences were observed during follow-up. Conclusions: In patients with locally advanced primary STS, treated with ILP followed by R0 resection, and with >50% ILP-induced necrosis in the resected specimen, RTx is of no further benefit.