Neoadjuvant chemotherapy for osteosarcoma of the extremities with metastases at presentation: recent experience at the Rizzoli Institute in 57 patients treated with cisplatin, doxorubicin, and a high dose of methotrexate and ifosfamide

Ann Oncol. 2003 Jul;14(7):1126-34. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdg286.


Background: Effective adjuvant or neoadjuvant regimens of chemotherapy have dramatically improved the prognosis of patients with high-grade osteosarcoma of the extremity, localized at diagnosis. Currently, little is known about patients with metastatic disease at presentation.

Patients and methods: From May 1995 to May 2000, 57 patients with osteosarcoma of the extremity, metastatic at presentation, were treated according to the following scheme: primary chemotherapy, restaging, simultaneous resection of primary tumor and metastatic lesions, and maintenance chemotherapy.

Results: Thirty-five patients achieved remission. At a follow-up ranging from 2 to 7 years, seven remained continuously free of disease, one died of chemotherapy-related toxicity and 27 patients relapsed. Twenty-one of the 22 patients who never achieved remission died as a result of the tumor, as well as 20 of the 27 who achieved remission but then relapsed. Of the remaining seven relapsing patients, six are alive with uncontrolled disease, while one is alive and free of disease 24 months after the last post-relapse treatment. Two-year event-free survival (EFS) and overall survival (OS) were 21% and 55%, respectively. These results are significantly poorer than those achieved in 128 contemporary patients with non-metastatic disease at presentation, treated with the same chemotherapy protocol (2-year EFS and OS of 75% and 94%, respectively).

Conclusions: The results of our study confirm that the prognosis of patients with osteosarcoma of the extremity, metastatic at presentation, remains poor, despite the use of aggressive treatments.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Arm / pathology
  • Bone Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Bone Neoplasms / pathology
  • Bone Neoplasms / surgery
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cisplatin / administration & dosage
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Doxorubicin / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ifosfamide / administration & dosage
  • Leg / pathology
  • Male
  • Methotrexate / administration & dosage
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Osteosarcoma / drug therapy*
  • Osteosarcoma / pathology
  • Prognosis
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Doxorubicin
  • Cisplatin
  • Ifosfamide
  • Methotrexate