Chemotherapy, irradiation, and surgery for function-preserving therapy of primary extremity soft tissue sarcomas: initial treatment with ifosfamide, mitomycin, doxorubicin, and cisplatin plus granulocyte macrophage-colony-stimulating factor

Cancer. 2002 Feb 1;94(3):786-92. doi: 10.1002/cncr.10259.


Background: Most institutional teams utilize multimodality therapy in their efforts to cure patients with primary high-grade extremity soft tissue sarcomas, although the value of adjuvant systemic chemotherapy is still disputed by some oncologists. This single-institution Phase II study describes an effort to control metastasis by the use of two cycles of chemotherapy as the initial preoperative treatment.

Methods: Between March 1994 and October 1997, 20 women and 19 men with primary extremity or limb girdle high-grade soft tissue sarcomas were registered to a study of preoperative ifosfamide, mitomycin, doxorubicin, cisplatin (IMAP) plus granulocyte macrophage-colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) followed by preoperative irradiation and subsequent limb-sparing surgery. The two sequential monthly cycles of IMAP involved intravenous ifosfamide, 2500 mg/m(2), and mesna, 2500 mg/m(2), on Day 0, followed by identical doses of these agents plus intravenous mitomycin, 4 mg/m(2), doxorubicin, 40 mg/m(2), and cisplatin, 60 mg/m(2), on Day 1. Sargramostim (GM-CSF) 250 microg/m(2) was given subcutaneously every 12 hours for 4 days beginning 6 days before the chemotherapy, and then for 14 more days beginning the day after chemotherapy was completed. At the beginning of the third month, external beam irradiation was administered daily, 5 days each week for 5 consecutive weeks to total preoperative doses of 4500 centigrays (cGy). This was accompanied by reduced doses of MAP chemotherapy (mitomycin, 6 mg/m(2), doxorubicin, 30 mg/m(2), and cisplatin, 45 mg/m(2)) intravenously on Days 0, 21, and 42 of the radiation therapy segment. Approximately 1 month after preoperative irradiation ended, each patient had complete surgical excision with curative intent, using limb-sparing techniques when possible. Radiation to total doses of 5500-6500 cGy was accomplished by delivery of an additional 1000-2000 cGy to the tumor bed via intraoperative electron beam, brachytherapy, or external beam irradiation at the completion of surgery.

Results: All except 5 patients had tumors at least 5 cm in diameter. Chemotherapy toxicity grade three or higher consisted primarily of vomiting (23%), leukopenia (54%), and thrombocytopenia (77%). Six patients have died of metastatic sarcoma, and one other died in a motorcycle accident. Kaplan-Meier curves indicate estimated 5-year survival of approximately 80% and freedom from metastasis at 2 years of approximately 85%.

Conclusions: IMAP plus GM-CSF is satisfactory as initial treatment for primary extremity soft tissue sarcomas in two monthly cycles preceding irradiation. The prescribed irradiation was generally tolerable and effective in permitting limb-sparing surgery. Although the outcome of patients treated on this regimen has been favorable, the metastasis problem has not been eliminated.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase II

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Cisplatin / administration & dosage
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Doxorubicin / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Ifosfamide / administration & dosage
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Leukopenia / chemically induced
  • Male
  • Mesna / administration & dosage
  • Middle Aged
  • Mitomycin / administration & dosage
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy
  • Sarcoma / drug therapy*
  • Sarcoma / radiotherapy
  • Sarcoma / surgery
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / surgery
  • Thrombocytopenia / chemically induced
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vomiting / chemically induced


  • Mitomycin
  • Doxorubicin
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor
  • Mesna
  • Cisplatin
  • Ifosfamide

Supplementary concepts

  • IMAP protocol