Chemotherapy is associated with improved survival in adult patients with primary extremity synovial sarcoma

Ann Surg. 2007 Jul;246(1):105-13. doi: 10.1097/01.sla.0000262787.88639.2b.


Purpose: To determine if ifosfamide-based chemotherapy (IF) offers a survival benefit to adult patients with primary extremity synovial sarcoma.

Patients and methods: Prospectively collected patient data from 2 institutions was used to identify all adult patients (>or=16 years) with >or=5 cm, deep, primary, extremity, synovial sarcoma that underwent surgical treatment of cure from 1990 to 2002. A total of 101 patients were identified and the median follow-up for survivors was 58 months. Clinical, pathologic, and treatment variables were analyzed for disease-specific survival (DSS), distant recurrence-free survival (DRFS), and local recurrence-free survival (LRFS).

Results: Sixty-eight (67%) patients were treated with IF and 33 (33%) patients received no chemotherapy (NoC) for the primary tumor. The characteristics of the IF-treated patients [median tumor size = 7.2 cm; monophasic n = 46 (68%)] were similar to NoC patients [median tumor size = 7 cm; monophasic n = 23 (70%)]. The 4-year DSS of the IF-treated patients was 88% compared with 67% for the NoC patients (P = 0.01). Smaller size (HR = 0.3 per 5-cm decrease, P < 0.0001) and treatment with IF (HR = 0.3 compared with NoC, P = 0.007) were independently associated with an improved DSS. Treatment with IF was independently associated with an improved DRFS (HR = 0.4, P = 0.03) but not associated with an improved LRFS (P = 0.39).

Conclusion: Ifosfamide-based chemotherapy was associated with an improved DSS in adult patients with high-risk, primary, extremity, synovial sarcoma and should be considered in the treatment of such patients.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating / therapeutic use
  • Arm*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Doxorubicin / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Ifosfamide / therapeutic use*
  • Leg*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / mortality
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sarcoma, Synovial / drug therapy*
  • Sarcoma, Synovial / mortality*
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating
  • Doxorubicin
  • Ifosfamide