The role of dose escalation and proton therapy in perioperative or definitive treatment of chondrosarcoma and chordoma: An analysis of the National Cancer Data Base

Cancer. 2019 Feb 15;125(4):642-651. doi: 10.1002/cncr.31958. Epub 2019 Jan 14.


Background: Chordomas and chondrosarcomas are a rare but challenging subset of tumors to treat; however, previous studies have shown benefits from proton therapy, which are thought to be primarily driven by prescription conformality permitting homogeneous tumor dosing and the allowance of higher doses. No retrospective studies to date have directly compared the outcomes of conventional and particle therapy or examined the role of high doses (specifically ≥70 Gy) in definitive radiotherapy (DRT) or perioperative radiotherapy (PRT) for both types of malignancies.

Methods: A total of 863 patients with chondrosarcoma and 715 patients with chordoma treated with nonpalliative proton or conventional radiation therapy with a dose range of 20 to 80 Gy and at least 15 months of follow-up were identified from the National Cancer Data Base for the years 2003-2014. The primary endpoint of overall survival (OS) was evaluated, and clinical features, including age, sex, grade, clinical stage, and Charlson-Deyo comorbidity index, were compared.

Results: Patients receiving DRT were older and had more advanced disease. In DRT for chondrosarcoma, a high dose (40.6% vs 16.9%; P = .006) and proton therapy (75.0% vs 19.1%; P = .046) were associated with improved OS at 5 years in a multivariate analysis. In DRT for chordoma, proton therapy was associated with improved OS at 5 years in a multivariate analysis (100% vs 34.1%; P = .031), and a high dose for chordoma was significant for improved OS in a univariate analysis with both DRT (79.0% vs 54.1%; P = .027) and PRT (83.3% vs 77.4%; P = .007).

Conclusions: In the largest retrospective series to date, dose escalation and proton radiotherapy were associated with improved OS in patients with chondrosarcoma and chordoma despite limited follow-up and access to particle therapy.

Keywords: chondrosarcoma; chordoma; dose escalation; proton therapy; survival.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Bone Neoplasms / pathology
  • Bone Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Chondrosarcoma / pathology
  • Chondrosarcoma / radiotherapy*
  • Chordoma / pathology
  • Chordoma / radiotherapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Perioperative Care
  • Prognosis
  • Proton Therapy / mortality*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate