Background: The primary management of adult soft tissue sarcomas (STS) is characterized by heterogeneity across centers. Several studies suggest that it is improved when coordinated by specialized sarcoma centers.
Patients and methods: This study, comparing STS patients of the Rhône-Alpes region treated within and outside the cancer network, retrospectively assesses the conformity of medical practice with 'evidence-based medicine' (EBM) reported under the clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) of the French Federation of Cancer Centers. Institutional records of 100 new STS patients seen between 1999 and 2001 in the regional comprehensive cancer center and Lyon University hospital were analyzed retrospectively (50/300 new files randomly selected in each institution). Medical decisions were checked for conformity with CPGs.
Results: Median age was 58 years (range 18-88) and median tumor size was 9 cm (range 1-26). The most common primary sites were extremities, viscera or trunk. The most frequent histology was leiomyosarcoma (21%) or liposarcoma (12%). Only 7% of cases were reviewed by formal multidisciplinary committee before biopsy (with 42% pre-surgery biopsies only). The first surgical resection was R0, R1 and R2 in 26, 29 and 45% of cases, respectively. Conformity to CPGs was rated 52, 81, 94 and 95% for initial surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and follow-up, respectively. At multivariate analysis, pre-surgery multidisciplinary discussion, management in reference center and management within cancer network independently predicted conformity to CPGs.
Conclusions: Conformity with EBM was similar to previous reports. Elaboration of treatment strategy within a formal multidisciplinary staff and treatment within a cancer network are both important prognostic factors for optimal clinical care.