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J Am Coll Surg. 2001 Oct;193(4):373-9.

Is there a role for incomplete resection in the management of retroperitoneal liposarcomas?

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  • 1Division of Surgical Oncology, University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore, USA.


Complete surgical resection is the most effective modality for the treatment of retroperitoneal sarcomas. Previous studies of all types of retroperitoneal sarcomas have not shown a survival benefit of incomplete resection over no resection. Because death often occurs as a result of local progression in retroperitoneal liposarcomas (RPLS), it is possible that incomplete resection may be beneficial in this histologic type. In this study we have sought to determine the clinical outcomes in patients with incompletely resected and unresected RPLS with the aim of defining patients who may benefit from palliative resection. From a prospective clinical database 55 patients with incompletely resected (n = 43) or unresected (n = 12) RPLS were identified between 1982 and 1999. Statistical analyses were performed using the log-rank test and Kaplan-Meier estimates with disease-specific survival as the primary end point. Variables studied included age, gender, recurrent versus primary disease, tumor grade, and tumor size. The patient population consisted of 34 men and 21 women with a mean age of 61 +/- 14 (SD) years. The median time to death was 10 months (range 1 to 83 months) with a median followup of 12 months (range 1 to 60 months) for survivors. Partial resection was an independent factor for increased survival as compared with exploration or biopsy only (median survival 26 versus 4 months, p < 0.0001). Of patients who received incomplete resections, locally recurrent presentation (n = 19) versus primary disease (n = 24) was a negative prognostic variable (median survival 17 versus 46 months, p = 0.009). Successful palliation of symptoms was achieved in 24 of 32 patients (75%) with preoperative symptoms. In select patients with unresectable RPLS, incomplete surgical resection can provide prolongation in survival and successful symptom palliation. Most likely to benefit are those patients presenting with primary tumors, suggesting that surgical resection should be attempted in the majority of patients.

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