Soft tissue sarcoma presenting with metastatic disease: outcome with primary surgical resection

Cancer. 2011 Jan 15;117(2):372-9. doi: 10.1002/cncr.25418. Epub 2010 Sep 9.


Background: The objective of this study was to assess patient, tumor, and treatment factors that affected overall survival in a group of patients who underwent surgery for soft tissue sarcoma (STS) and presented with American Joint Commission on Cancer stage IV disease.

Methods: A retrospective review was undertaken of a single institution's database from the years 1986 to 2006 in all patients who met the following inclusion criteria: 1) surgical management of the primary tumor was undertaken, and 2) metastatic disease was present at the time of initial presentation. In total, 112 patients were identified who met the inclusion criteria.

Results: The 5-year survival rate for the entire group was 17%. In univariate analysis, the variables that were identified as statistically significant for predicting improved overall survival were resection of metastatic disease (P = .003), <4 pulmonary metastases (P = .05), and the presence of lymph node metastases versus pulmonary metastases (P = .0002). In multivariate analysis, only the presence of lymph node metastases versus pulmonary metastases retained statistical significance (P = .05). The 5-year survival rate for patients who had lymph nodes metastases at diagnosis was 59%, whereas it was only 8% for patients who presented with pulmonary metastases.

Conclusions: Patients who presented with metastatic STS had a very poor prognosis despite aggressive surgical management of their primary tumor. The current results indicated that, although patients with isolated lymph node metastases may be cured by surgical resection, patients with pulmonary metastases are unlikely to be cured even with aggressive surgical management and should be treated with palliation of symptoms as the main objective.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / secondary
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Sarcoma / mortality
  • Sarcoma / pathology
  • Sarcoma / secondary
  • Sarcoma / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome