Improved Outcomes With the Evolution of a Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy Approach to Right Heart Sarcoma

Ann Thorac Surg. 2017 Jul;104(1):90-96. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2016.10.054. Epub 2017 Feb 9.


Background: Right-side heart sarcomas tend to be bulky, infiltrative, and difficult to treat. We have previously examined our outcomes with right heart sarcomas. Surgical resection with R0 margins showed better survival than positive margins but in only one third of cases could R0 status be achieved. The hypothesis for this study was that preoperative neoadjuvant chemotherapy would shrink the tumor margins and allow an increase in R0 resection, and hence, better survival.

Methods: Review of our cardiac tumor database from 1990 to 2015 yielded 133 primary cardiac sarcoma cases. Of these, we identified 44 patients with primary right-side heart sarcomas. Prospective database and retrospective data collection and clinical outcomes were evaluated for all 44 patients. Primary outcomes included 30-day mortality and morbidity and long-term survival. We used univariate and multivariate analyses to identify independent predictors of overall survival.

Results: There were 27 male and 17 female patients with a mean age of 41 ± 12.7 years (range, 15 to 67). Seventy-three percent of the patients (32 of 44) received neoadjuvant chemotherapy. The most common tumor histology was angiosarcoma in 30 of 44 (68%). Thirty-day mortality was 4.5%, and statistically similar between the two groups. The median survival of patients who had R0 resection was 53.5 months compared with 9.5 months for R1. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy led to a doubling of survival (20 versus 9.5 months).

Conclusions: Neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by radical surgery is a safe and effective strategy in patients with primary right-side heart sarcoma. This multimodality treatment enhances resectability (R0 resection) that translates into improved patient survival.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant / methods
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Heart Neoplasms / mortality
  • Heart Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Israel / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy / methods
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sarcoma / diagnosis
  • Sarcoma / mortality
  • Sarcoma / therapy*
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Antineoplastic Agents