Introduction: Anaemia is present in more than 30 % of patients with various cancers at the time of initial presentation. Anaemia or a lower level of haemoglobin (Hb) is an indicator of poorer prognosis in many cancers. Several studies have also demonstrated that high levels of proinflammatory cytokines contribute to the development of anaemia. However, no studies have assessed the correlation between anaemia and survival in patients with soft tissue sarcoma. The aim of this study was to elucidate the relationship between anaemia and clinical outcome and to determine whether pretreatment anaemia predicted disease-specific survival in patients with adult soft tissue sarcoma.
Methods: A total of 376 patients between 2003 and 2010 were retrospectively reviewed. Patients who presented with metastases or/and local recurrence at diagnosis were excluded from this study.
Results: Hb levels varied from 8.0 to 17.3 g/dl in all patients. Pretreatment anaemia was seen in 114 patients. Hb levels were significantly correlated to C-reactive protein levels (Spearman ρ = -0.54, p < 0.0001). The tumour histological grade, age and tumour size were also significantly correlated to Hb levels. Patients with anaemia had a worse disease-specific survival (52.6 % at 5 years) than those without anaemia (79.7 % at 5 years) (p < 0.0001). Patients with anaemia also had a worse event-free rate (44 % at 5 years) than those without anaemia (66.3 % at 5 years) (p < 0.0001). Multivariate analysis showed that anaemia remained an independent predictor of survival (p = 0.002) and events (p = 0.0003).
Conclusion: Pretreatment anaemia may be indicative of an aggressive characteristic in patients with soft tissue sarcoma. We recommend the routine measurement of Hb level to identify patients who are at greater risk of death or an event.