Non-Rhabdomyosarcoma Soft Tissue Sarcomas in Children: A Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Analysis Validating COG Risk Stratifications

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2015 Jun 1;92(2):339-48. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2015.02.007.


Purpose: Non-rhabdomyosarcoma soft tissue sarcomas (NRSTS) are a heterogeneous group of sarcomas that encompass over 35 histologies. With an incidence of ∼500 cases per year in the United States in those <20 years of age, NRSTS are rare and therefore difficult to study in pediatric populations. We used the large Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database to validate the prognostic ability of the Children's Oncology Group (COG) risk classification system and to define patient, tumor, and treatment characteristics.

Methods and materials: From SEER data from 1988 to 2007, we identified patients ≤18 years of age with NRSTS. Data for age, sex, year of diagnosis, race, registry, histology, grade, primary size, primary site, stage, radiation therapy, and survival outcomes were analyzed. Patients with nonmetastatic grossly resected low-grade tumors of any size or high-grade tumors ≤5 cm were considered low risk. Cases of nonmetastatic tumors that were high grade, >5 cm, or unresectable were considered intermediate risk. Patients with nodal or distant metastases were considered high risk.

Results: A total of 941 patients met the review criteria. On univariate analysis, black race, malignant peripheral nerve sheath (MPNST) histology, tumors >5 cm, nonextremity primary, lymph node involvement, radiation therapy, and higher risk group were associated with significantly worse overall survival (OS) and cancer-specific survival (CSS). On multivariate analysis, MPNST histology, chemotherapy-resistant histology, and higher risk group were significantly poor prognostic factors for OS and CSS. Compared to low-risk patients, intermediate patients showed poorer OS (hazard ratio [HR]: 6.08, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 3.53-10.47, P<.001) and CSS (HR: 6.27; 95% CI: 3.44-11.43, P<.001), and high-risk patients had the worst OS (HR: 13.35, 95% CI: 8.18-21.76, P<.001) and CSS (HR: 14.65, 95% CI: 8.49-25.28, P<.001).

Conclusions: The current COG risk group stratification for children with NRSTS has been validated with a large number of children in the SEER database.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment*
  • SEER Program
  • Sarcoma / ethnology
  • Sarcoma / mortality*
  • Sarcoma / pathology*
  • Sarcoma / radiotherapy
  • United States