Background: The Norwegian Radium Hospital's sarcoma group is a multidisciplinary group with a leading role in the diagnosis and treatment of bone and soft tissue sarcomas in Norway.
Material and methods: From 1980 through 1999, 1,355 patients with soft tissue sarcoma and 458 patients with bone sarcoma were treated. In a retrospective analysis of trends over time, patients were allocated to consecutive five-year periods.
Results: Patient characteristics were relatively stable, but there was an increasing proportion of soft tissue sarcomas being referred without prior surgery. Treatment principles have remained unchanged, with surgery with or without radiotherapy dominating in soft tissue sarcoma and surgery with or without chemotherapy in bone sarcoma. The amputation rate for bone sarcoma has fallen from 78% to 17%, and survival has increased significantly for both soft tissue and bone sarcoma patients.
Interpretation: The results indicate significant improvements in the quality of treatment of soft tissue and bone sarcoma. More resources for treatment and organizational development of a multidisciplinary group may contribute to improved quality of care.