Purpose: In patients with an osteosarcoma, the prognosis is still poor. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether routinely tested biochemical parameters or additional parameters on bone scintigraphy could be identified which can select prognostic subgroups at the time of diagnosis.
Methods: A retrospective study was performed in 115 consecutive patients (70 male, 45 female) (mean age: 25.6 years; range: 3.50-78.0 years) who were referred for bone scintigraphy prior to treatment from March 1986 to September 2000 because of a newly diagnosed osteosarcoma. All bone scans were reassessed for the intensity and pattern of uptake and a bone-scan index. All pre-treatment general, histological, biochemical, and scintigraphic data were correlated with clinical outcome during follow-up.
Results: During follow-up 54 patients died. Tumour volume and GGT showed significance as independent variables for metastases. Patients with metastases demonstrated a significantly lower survival rate (23% 5-year survival) than patients without metastases (98% 5-year survival). Tumours of the humerus and femur had a significantly lower survival rate. With respect to significant biochemical parameters (ALP, GGT, ASAT), it was not possible to determine a cut-off value that could be used to differentiate between high- and low-risk patients. Additional parameters assessed on bone scintigraphy were not important for prognostic stratification.
Conclusion: The strongest predictor of survival in osteosarcoma is the presence or absence of metastasis. Some biochemical parameters have prognostic value, but they cannot be used for the unequivocal identification of subgroups. Additional scintigraphic parameters are irrelevant for prognostic stratification.