Background: The purpose of this study was to analyze improvements in overall survival over 21 years (1982-2002), with a 5-year minimum follow-up, in the largest series from a single center ever reported.
Materials and methods: All diagnoses of high-grade osteosarcoma were included despite histological varieties, age, site and stage. Of the 1656 cases observed, 198 patients were excluded (41 consultation only, 129 low-grade varieties, and 28 lost to follow-up). Within 1458 included patients, 1032 had characteristics to be enrolled in conventional clinical trials (classic histology, age <41, localized, and extremity disease). Data are also analyzed in subgroups to define patients who benefited most.
Results: With a median follow-up of 12 years (5-25 years), 754 patients (51.7%) are alive, of whom 613 continuously disease free. Survival at 5, 10, and 15 years is 57%, 52%, and 51%, respectively. Patients candidates for clinical trials have a survival rate of 68%, 64%, and 61%, respectively. Survival for the other patients is 30%, 25%, and 24%, respectively. Trend (joinpoint statistical analysis at real 5-year follow-up) shows a yearly statistically significant improvement of 1.31% (95% confidence interval 0.5% to 2.1%) from 51% for patients treated in 1982 to 68% for those treated in 2002. Patients who statistically benefited were those who relapsed or presented with metastatic disease at diagnosis or had axial tumors.
Conclusions: Despite the lack of new drugs for osteosarcoma, survival has statistically improved, especially for those patients with the worst outcome. Aggressive treatments are recommended for all patients including those with poor prognosis.