Doxorubicin plus dacarbazine, doxorubicin plus ifosfamide, or doxorubicin alone as a first-line treatment for advanced leiomyosarcoma: A propensity score matching analysis from the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Soft Tissue and Bone Sarcoma Group

Cancer. 2020 Jun 1;126(11):2637-2647. doi: 10.1002/cncr.32795. Epub 2020 Mar 4.


Background: The optimal treatment for advanced leiomyosarcoma is still debated. Given histotype-specific prospective controlled data lacking, this study retrospectively evaluated doxorubicin plus dacarbazine, doxorubicin plus ifosfamide, and doxorubicin alone as first-line treatments for advanced/metastatic leiomyosarcoma treated at European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Soft Tissue and Bone Sarcoma Group (EORTC-STBSG) sites.

Methods: The inclusion criteria were a confirmed histological diagnosis, treatment between January 2010 and December 2015, measurable disease (Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors 1.1), an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status ≤2, and an age ≥ 18 years. The endpoints were progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), and overall response rate (ORR). PFS was analyzed with methods for interval-censored data. Patients were matched according to their propensity scores, which were estimated with a logistic regression model accounting for histology, grade, age, sex, performance status, tumor site, and tumor extent.

Results: Three hundred three patients from 18 EORTC-STBSG sites were identified. One hundred seventeen (39%) received doxorubicin plus dacarbazine, 71 (23%) received doxorubicin plus ifosfamide, and 115 (38%) received doxorubicin. In the 2:1:2 propensity score-matched population (205 patients), the estimated median PFS was 9.2 months (95% confidence interval [CI], 5.2-9.7 months), 8.2 months (95% CI, 5.2-10.1 months), and 4.8 months (95% CI, 2.3-6.0 months) with ORRs of 30.9%, 19.5%, and 25.6% for doxorubicin plus dacarbazine, doxorubicin plus ifosfamide, and doxorubicin alone, respectively. PFS was significantly longer with doxorubicin plus dacarbazine versus doxorubicin (hazard ratio [HR], 0.72; 95% CI, 0.52-0.99). Doxorubicin plus dacarbazine was associated with longer OS (median, 36.8 months; 95% CI, 27.9-47.2 months) in comparison with both doxorubicin plus ifosfamide (median, 21.9 months; 95% CI, 16.7-33.4 months; HR, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.40-1.06) and doxorubicin (median, 30.3 months; 95% CI, 21.0-36.3 months; HR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.43-0.99). Adjusted analyses retained an effect for PFS but not for OS. None of the factors selected for multivariate analysis had a significant interaction with the received treatment for both PFS and OS.

Conclusions: This is the largest retrospective study of first-line treatment for advanced leiomyosarcoma. In the propensity score-matched population, doxorubicin and dacarbazine showed favorable activity in terms of both ORR and PFS and warrants further evaluation in prospective trials.

Keywords: dacarbazine; doxorubicin; ifosfamide; leiomyosarcoma; propensity score; retrospective study; sarcoma.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bone Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Bone Neoplasms / mortality
  • Dacarbazine / administration & dosage
  • Doxorubicin / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ifosfamide / administration & dosage
  • Leiomyosarcoma / drug therapy*
  • Leiomyosarcoma / mortality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Propensity Score*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sarcoma / drug therapy*
  • Sarcoma / mortality


  • Dacarbazine
  • Doxorubicin
  • Ifosfamide