Effective follow-up strategies in soft tissue sarcoma

Semin Surg Oncol. 1999 Jul-Aug;17(1):83-7. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1098-2388(199907/08)17:1<83::aid-ssu11>3.0.co;2-w.


The value of surveillance for detection of recurrences in patients with soft tissue sarcoma (STS) after definitive surgical resection of the primary tumor is based on the premise that early recognition and treatment of local or distant recurrence can prolong survival. Surveillance strategies should meet the criteria of easy implementation, accuracy, and cost-effectiveness. Although guidelines have been proposed for follow-up of patients with STS, there are few data in the medical literature on the effectiveness of these recommendations. We reviewed the effectiveness of a surveillance program for primary extremity STS in an effort to provide an evidence-based rationale for follow-up of STS. We concluded that clinical assessment of patient symptoms, chest X-ray imaging, and physical examination are effective strategies for follow-up of extremity STS. Chest X-ray imaging also appears to be cost-effective, at least for high-grade extremity STS. Imaging of the primary extremity site by computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) on an annual basis and routine laboratory blood tests were ineffective strategies for recurrence detection. However, certain patient characteristics such as body habitus, previous radiation therapy, and location of the primary tumor site may require the use of CT scans and MRI for adequate clinical assessment. The role of specific surveillance strategies for recurrence detection for sarcomas of the trunk, head and neck, retroperitoneum, and viscera has yet to be defined.

MeSH terms

  • Continuity of Patient Care* / economics
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / diagnosis
  • Sarcoma / diagnosis
  • Sarcoma / economics
  • Sarcoma / secondary
  • Sarcoma / surgery*
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / economics
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / surgery*