Adjuvant chemotherapy for soft-tissue sarcoma: review and meta-analysis of the published results of randomised clinical trials

Br J Cancer. 1995 Aug;72(2):469-75. doi: 10.1038/bjc.1995.357.


Fifteen published randomised trials comparing adjuvant chemotherapy with no chemotherapy in soft-tissue sarcoma (STS) were identified (1546 patients). A qualitative review and a meta-analysis of this published literature were performed. With the qualitative review it was not possible to synthesise the apparently conflicting results of individual trials. The meta-analysis of the published data suggests an improvement in survival at 2 years (OR = 0.73, 95% CI = 0.53-0.99, P = 0.044) and at 5 years (OR = 0.59, 95% CI = 0.45-0.78, P = 0.0002) in favour of chemotherapy. However, the assumptions and approximations required to conduct this quantitative summary demand that the results are interpreted with caution. The only reliable means of assessing the current evidence on whether adjuvant chemotherapy has a role in the treatment of patients with STS, is to collect, check and reanalyse individual patients data (IPD) from each trial centrally, and formally combine the results in a stratified time-to-event analysis. Such an IPD analysis is currently being undertaken by an international collaborative group.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Doxorubicin / administration & dosage
  • Doxorubicin / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Sarcoma / drug therapy*
  • Sarcoma / pathology
  • Sarcoma / surgery


  • Doxorubicin