Trends in survival for patients with metastatic soft-tissue sarcoma

Cancer. 2011 Mar 1;117(5):1049-54. doi: 10.1002/cncr.25538. Epub 2010 Oct 13.


Background: The objective of this study was to determine whether the overall survival of patients with metastatic soft tissue sarcoma (STS) has improved over the last 20 years.

Methods: In total, 1024 patients who had synchronous metastatic (SM) STS or metachronous metastatic (MM) STS diagnosed between 1987 and 2006 were included prospectively in the French Sarcoma Group database after central histologic review. Four periods of diagnosis of metastatic disease were defined: P1, from 1987 to 1991 (n = 208); P2, from 1992 to 1996 (n = 287); P3, from 1997 to 2001 (n = 285); and P4, from 2002 to 2006 (n = 244). Patient characteristics were analyzed as prognostic factors by using a Cox model.

Results: The proportion of patients with SM, the interval between diagnosis and MM, and the clinical characteristics of the patients were similar across the 4 periods. Although there was no significant difference in the median overall survival (OS) from P1 through P2 (P1, 12.3 months; 95% confidence interval [CI], 9.9-14.7 months; P2, 11.4 months; 95% CI, 9-13.9 months), significant improvements were observed in the later periods (P3, 15 months; 95% CI, 11.8-18.2 months; P4, 18 months; 95% CI, 15.3-20.7 months; P = .029; log-rank test). The 2-year OS rate also increased throughout the study period from 28.1% during P1 to 38.7% during P4. On multivariate analysis, period of diagnosis, age, histologic subtype, time to metastatic recurrence, French Federation of Cancer Centers Sarcoma Group grade, and the number of metastatic sites were independent prognostic factors for OS.

Conclusions: The current analysis revealed that the median OS of patients with metastatic STS had improved by 50% during the last 20 years. These data should be considered in the interpretation of results from ongoing and future STS trials.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • France / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multicenter Studies as Topic
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sarcoma / mortality*
  • Sarcoma / pathology
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / pathology
  • Survival Analysis
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • Young Adult