Surveillance strategies for patients following surgical resection of soft tissue sarcomas

Curr Opin Oncol. 2004 Jul;16(4):328-32. doi: 10.1097/01.cco.0000127879.62254.d3.


Purpose of review: To examine the factors predictive of recurrence for soft tissue sarcomas, the role of salvage therapy, and the data in support of current surveillance strategies.

Recent findings: There are multiple primary tumor characteristics and other factors that can stratify patients into low- or high-risk groups for developing recurrent disease. The available data also support a limited role for salvage therapy in the setting of isolated local recurrence or distant metastases. The use of routine chest computed tomography as opposed to conventional chest x-ray for pulmonary surveillance is costly and provides little additional benefit if the risk for lung metastases is low. When examined scientifically, standard laboratory studies and surveillance imaging of the primary tumor site for extremity soft tissue sarcomas add little to the detection of recurrent disease. In addition to predictive variables, physician experience and opinion influence surveillance strategies.

Summary: For soft tissue sarcomas, patient education and office visits with thorough history and physical examination will detect the vast majority of recurrent disease. Routine surveillance imaging is only of significant benefit if the risk for asymptomatic recurrence is high or if other factors make clinical assessment difficult. There is no benefit to basic laboratory studies in standard follow-up regimens.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Extremities / diagnostic imaging
  • Extremities / pathology
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / secondary
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / diagnosis
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / epidemiology
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / surgery
  • Population Surveillance*
  • Radiography, Thoracic
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sarcoma / diagnosis
  • Sarcoma / epidemiology*
  • Sarcoma / surgery*
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed