Preoperative chemoradiation treatment strategies for localized sarcoma

Ann Surg Oncol. 2002 Jul;9(6):535-42. doi: 10.1007/BF02573888.


Background: Over the past 2 decades, there has been increasing interest in chemoradiation treatment strategies for patients with soft tissue sarcomas. Investigators have evaluated: (1) the optimal route for chemotherapy administration (intra-arterial vs. intravenous); (2) the possible advantages of protracted infusion of the radiosensitizer versus brief infusion; (3) the efficacy and toxicity of various intravenous and oral radiation sensitizers; and (4) the efficacy of sequential versus concurrent combined modality treatment.

Methods: The English-language literature addressing chemoradiation for localized and locally advanced extremity and retroperitoneal sarcomas was reviewed.

Results: All studies have been pilot, phase I, or phase II designs. The most commonly used radiosensitizer for concurrent chemoradiation has been doxorubicin, administered intravenously in most recent reports. In the studies that have included assessment of recurrence-free survival, preoperative chemoradiation combined with surgery has resulted in favorable local control rates, often in excess of 90% for patients with localized and locally advanced extremity sarcomas.

Conclusions: The toxicities and recurrence-free outcome with chemoradiation plus surgery for soft tissue sarcoma still need to be compared to these with surgery and pre- or postoperative radiation. However, the generally favorable local control rates reported for chemoradiation justify continued investigation of preoperative chemoradiation strategies for localized sarcoma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Doxorubicin / administration & dosage
  • Doxorubicin / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intra-Arterial
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy / methods*
  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents / therapeutic use
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Retroperitoneal Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Retroperitoneal Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Retroperitoneal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Sarcoma / drug therapy*
  • Sarcoma / radiotherapy*
  • Sarcoma / surgery


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents
  • Doxorubicin