An intergroup phase III randomized study of doxorubicin and dacarbazine with or without ifosfamide and mesna in advanced soft tissue and bone sarcomas

J Clin Oncol. 1993 Jul;11(7):1276-85. doi: 10.1200/JCO.1993.11.7.1276.


Purpose and methods: Doxorubicin alone or with dacarbazine (DTIC; AD) is considered the best available therapy for metastatic adult sarcomas. Ifosfamide is active in sarcomas that have failed to respond to a doxorubicin-based regimen. This study was designed to determine if ifosfamide added to doxorubicin and DTIC (ADI) significantly effects toxicity, response rate, and survival. Patients with measurable metastatic or unresectable sarcoma were randomized to receive AD or ADI. Patients with chondrosarcomas, fibrosarcomas, and other sarcomas of bone were eligible, although those with osteosarcoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, Ewing's sarcoma, Kaposi's sarcoma, and mesothelioma were excluded, as were patients with prior chemotherapy for sarcoma or prior doxorubicin.

Results: Between 1987 and 1989, 340 eligible patients were randomized. Significantly more myelosuppression, a higher response rate (17% v 32%; P < .002) and longer time to progression (4 v 6 months; P < .02) were observed for patients who received ifosfamide. An overall survival advantage for the two-drug regimen (12 v 13 months; P = .04) was not significant by multivariate analysis.

Conclusion: In all three randomized trials of doxorubicin with and without ifosfamide (Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group [ECOG], European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer [EORTC], and this study), the response rate was higher for the ifosfamide-containing arm, significantly so in this and the ECOG studies. An improved response rate may be particularly important for the preoperative management of high-grade, borderline resectable lesions or pulmonary metastases, particularly in younger patients. In older patients, or for low-to intermediate-grade lesions, doxorubicin and DTIC followed by ifosfamide on progression is preferred.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Bone Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Dacarbazine / administration & dosage
  • Doxorubicin / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ifosfamide / administration & dosage
  • Male
  • Mesna / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Sarcoma / drug therapy*
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urinary Bladder Diseases / chemically induced
  • Urinary Bladder Diseases / prevention & control


  • Dacarbazine
  • Doxorubicin
  • Mesna
  • Ifosfamide