Rationale: Angiosarcomas of soft tissue represent a heterogenous group of rare sarcomas with specific clinical behaviour and risk factors. Paclitaxel appears to induce tumour control in a higher proportion of patients with angiosarcoma, as compared to other sarcomas. The objective of this retrospective study was to assess the anti-tumour activity of this compound in a multicentre setting.
Method: Clinical data from patients with angiosarcomas of soft tissue treated with single agent paclitaxel were collected from the centres of the soft tissue and bone sarcoma group of EORTC, using a standardised data collection form. Paclitaxel could be given every three weeks, or weekly. Statistical analysis was performed using SAS software.
Results: Data from 32 patients were collected from 10 centres. There were 17 males, 15 females, with a median age of 60.4 years (range, 25-91). Primary angiosarcomas were located in scalp and face in 8 patients (25%) and at other primary sites in 24 patients (75%). All patients had intermediate (n=13) or high grade (n=19) primary tumours. Thirteen (40%) patients had been pretreated with doxorubicin-based first-line-chemotherapy and three of them (9%) had also received second-line chemotherapy with ifosfamide. Eleven (34%) patients had been irradiated before as treatment for angiosarcoma. In 8 (25%) patients, the angiosarcoma occurred at sites of prior radiation therapy for other malignancies. The response rate was 62% (21/32) in the whole series, 75% (6/8) in scalp angiosarcomas and 58% (14/24) in other primary sites. The median time to progression was 7.6 months (range, 1-42) for the whole group. For the face/scalp group it was 9.5 months, and for patients with angiosarcomas at other sites it was 7.0 months, respectively.
Conclusion: Paclitaxel was found to be an active agent in angiosarcoma of soft tissue in this retrospective analysis. These results need to be confirmed in a prospective randomised phase II study.