Radiation-induced sarcomas of the chest wall

Cancer. 1986 Feb 1;57(3):610-5. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(19860201)57:3<610::aid-cncr2820570336>3.0.co;2-p.


Sixteen patients are presented who had sarcomas of the chest wall at a site where a prior malignancy had been irradiated. The first malignancies included breast cancer (ten cases), Hodgkin's disease (four cases), and others (two cases). Radiation doses varied from 4200 to 5500 R (mean, 4900 R). The latency period ranged from 5 to 28 years (mean, 13 years). The histologic types of the radiation-induced sarcomas were as follows: malignant fibrous histiocytoma, nine cases; osteosarcoma, six cases; and malignant mesenchymoma, one case. The only long-term survivor is alive and well 12 years after resection of a clavicular chondroblastic osteosarcoma. Three cases were recently diagnosed. Despite aggressive multimodality treatment, the remaining 13 patients have all died from their sarcomas (mean survival, 13.5 months). All patients have apparently been cured of their first malignancies. Chemotherapy was ineffective. No treatment, including forequarter amputation, appeared to palliate the patients with supraclavicular soft tissue sarcomas. Major chest wall resection offered good palliation for seven of eight patients with sarcomas arising in the sternum or lateral chest wall. Close follow-up is needed to detect signs of these sarcomas in the ever-increasing number of patients receiving therapeutic irradiation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Dacarbazine / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / mortality
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / pathology
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / therapy*
  • Prognosis
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects*
  • Sarcoma / mortality
  • Sarcoma / pathology
  • Sarcoma / therapy*
  • Thoracic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Thoracic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Thoracic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Thorax / radiation effects*


  • Dacarbazine