Purpose: Single-agent doxorubicin remains the standard treatment for advanced soft tissue sarcomas. Combining doxorubicin with standard-dose ifosfamide has not been shown to improve survival and is associated with a significantly increased toxicity; it is not known whether higher dose single-agent ifosfamide is superior to doxorubicin.
Patients and methods: This randomized prospective multicenter phase III trial was designed to compare progression-free survival of patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma receiving either regimen of standard doxorubicin 75 mg/m2 every 21 days, ifosfamide 9 g/m2 over 3 days continuous infusion, or ifosfamide 3 g/m2 per day in 3 hours over 3 days. The primary end point was progression-free survival. Secondary end points included overall survival, response rate, and toxicity.
Results: The study included 326 patients. Grade 4 leukopenia, neutropenia, febrile neutropenia, and encephalopathy were more frequent in the ifosfamide arms. Progression-free survival, overall survival, and response rates were not significantly different between the three arms. An independent data monitoring committee reviewed the interim data and recommended early closure of the trial for futility (ie, no significant difference would be shown).
Conclusion: Single-agent doxorubicin remains the treatment of choice for patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma.