Late effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy in osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma patients: the Italian Sarcoma Group Experience (1983-2006)

Cancer. 2012 Oct 15;118(20):5050-9. doi: 10.1002/cncr.27493. Epub 2012 Mar 13.


Background: Patients with osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma have achieved longer survival over the past decades, but late side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy have become important concerns.

Methods: The authors reviewed all patients with localized osteosarcoma or Ewing sarcoma who had been enrolled in the Italian Sarcoma Group neoadjuvant protocols from 1983 through 2006. Data were updated in December 2010 to determine 3 endpoints: the incidence of a secondary primary cancer (designated as "second malignant neoplasm" [SMN]), infertility, and cardiotoxicity.

Results: Data were available on 883 patients with osteosarcoma and 543 patients with Ewing sarcoma. In the osteosarcoma group, there were 39 SMNs (4.4%) in 36 patients; in the Ewing sarcoma group, 15 patients (2.8%) experienced a single SMN each. The cumulative 10-year and 20-year incidence of an SMN (±standard error) was 4.9% ± 0.9% and 6.1% ± 1.2%, respectively, in the osteosarcoma group and 3.4% ± 0.9% and 4.7% ± 1.6%, respectively, in the Ewing sarcoma group. The most common SMN in the osteosarcoma group was breast cancer (n = 11), and the most common SMN in the Ewing sarcoma group was radiotherapy-induced osteosarcoma (n = 6). After 20 years, the risk of developing an SMN increased, whereas the risk of a recurrence of the primary tumor decreased. Permanent sterility was more common in males than in females. Doxorubicin cardiotoxicity occurred in 18 patients with osteosarcoma (2%) and in 7 patients with Ewing sarcoma (1.3%).

Conclusions: The awareness of late side effects in long-term survivors of primary bone cancers should encourage longer follow-up.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Bone Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Diseases
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infertility / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary / epidemiology
  • Osteosarcoma / drug therapy*
  • Sarcoma, Ewing / drug therapy*
  • Survivors
  • Young Adult