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J Clin Oncol. 1989 Oct;7(10):1504-13.

Adjuvant chemotherapy with doxorubicin in high-grade soft tissue sarcoma: a randomized trial of the Scandinavian Sarcoma Group.

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  • 1Department of Oncology, University Hospital, Lund, Sweden.


From January 1981 to February 1986, a total of 240 patients with primary, malignancy-grade III or IV soft tissue sarcoma were entered into an adjuvant chemotherapy multicenter trial conducted by the Scandinavian Sarcoma Group (SSG). Of these patients, 181 were evaluable. The tumor was located in the extremities in 155 patients. After radical surgery (wide and compartmental) the patients were randomized to treatment with single-agent doxorubicin 60 mg/m2 administered as an intravenous (IV) bolus once a month for 9 months (group 1, n = 77) or to control (group 2, n = 77). If the surgical procedure was marginal, the patients initially received postoperative radiotherapy, followed by doxorubicin (group 3, n = 16) or control (group 4, n = 11). The control groups did not receive any adjuvant chemotherapy. Adjuvant therapy was initiated within 6 weeks of surgery (group 1) or within 10 weeks of surgery for patients receiving postoperative radiotherapy (group 3). With a median follow-up of 40 months, there was no significant difference between the four treatment groups in overall survival (group 1, 75%; group 2, 70%; group 3, 69%; group 4, 73%), disease-free survival (group 1, 62%; group 2, 56%; group 3, 62%; group 4, 64%), or local tumor control (group 1, 92%; group 2, 92%; group 3, 87%; group 4, 90%). The conclusions were the same whether the total group or evaluable patients only were included in the analysis. The local recurrence rate for patients undergoing radical surgery was 8% and for patients undergoing marginal surgery followed by radiotherapy was 12%. This study indicates that the use of single-agent doxorubicin as postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy has no significant clinical benefit in patients with high-grade soft tissue sarcoma.

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