In this phase II study, activity and safety of neoadjuvant regional hyperthermia (RHT) combined with chemotherapy was investigated in 59 patients with primary advanced or recurrent high-risk soft-tissue sarcoma (STS). Patients received four EIA cycles consisting of etoposide, ifosfamide and doxorubicin combined with RHT followed by surgical resection and adjuvant treatment. The overall objective response (OR) rate was 17%, with one complete (2%) and eight partial (15%) responses. In addition, 13 minor responses (25%) were seen. At time of surgery, complete necrosis (pCR) occurred in 6 patients and >75% necrosis (favourable histological response (FHR)) in 12 patients. At the completion of protocol treatment, 36 patients were rendered disease-free which was significantly associated with the initial radiographic and/or pathological tumour response (P=0.004). Treatment-related toxicity was acceptable overall. At a medium follow-up of 82 months, local treatment failure occurred in 33 patients, median overall survival (OS) was 52 months, and the 5-year survival rate was 49% (95% confidence interval (CI): 36-61%). OS which did not differ for extremity versus non-extremity STS (P=0.21) was better for patients responding to EIA combined with RHT (P<0.01).