Purpose: Although survival without resection of pulmonary metastases from osteosarcoma is unlikely, not all surgeons agree on an aggressive surgical approach. We have taken an approach to attempt surgical resection if at all feasible regardless of number of metastases and disease-free interval (DFI). This study presents information on long-term follow-up after this aggressive approach to resection.
Methods: A single-institution retrospective cohort study of osteosarcoma patients younger than 21 years with pulmonary metastases, limited to the contemporary chemotherapeutic period (1980-2000), was conducted.
Results: In 137 patients, synchronous (23.4%) or metachronous (76.6%) pulmonary nodules were identified. The median follow-up was 2.0 years (5 days to 20.1 years) for all patients. Overall survival among patients who had pulmonary nodules was 40.2% and 22.6% at 3 and 5 years, respectively. Ninety-nine patients underwent attempted pulmonary metastasectomy (mean survival, 33.6 months; 95% confidence interval, 25.1-42.1) and 38 patients did not (mean survival, 10.1 months; 95% confidence interval, 6.5-13.6; P < .001, t test). Characteristics that were associated with an increased likelihood of 5-year overall survival after pulmonary resection were primary tumor necrosis greater than 98% after neoadjuvant chemotherapy (P < .05) and DFI before developing lung metastases more than 1 year (P < .001). No statistically significant difference in overall survival or disease-free survival was found based on the number of pulmonary metastases resected. Characteristics including primary tumor size, site, or extension; chemotherapy; early vs late metastases; unilateral vs bilateral metastases; and resection margins did not significantly affect survival.
Conclusions: Most patient and tumor characteristics commonly used by surgeons to determine utility of resection of pulmonary metastases among patients with osteosarcoma are not associated with outcome. Biology of the particular tumor (response to preoperative chemotherapy, measured by tumor necrosis percentage, and DFI), as opposed to tumor burden, appears to influence survival more significantly. We would advocate considering repeat pulmonary resection for patients with recurrent metastases from osteosarcoma.