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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1998 Sep 1;42(2):379-84.

Second malignancies after treatment for Ewing's sarcoma: a report of the CESS-studies.

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  • 1Department of Radiotherapy, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Halle, Germany.



During recent years, more intensified systemic and local treatment regimens have increased the 5-year survival figures in localized Ewing's sarcoma to more than 60%. There is, however, concern about the risk of second malignancies (SM) in long-term survivors. We have analyzed the second malignancies in patients treated in the German Ewing's Sarcoma Studies CESS 81 and CESS 86.


From January 1981 through June 1991, 674 patients were registered in the two sequential multicentric Ewing's sarcoma trials CESS 81 (recruitment period 1981-1985) and CESS 86 (1986-1991). The systemic treatment in both studies consisted of a four-drug-regimen (VACA = vincristine, actinomycin D, cyclophosphamide, and adriamycin; or VAIA = vincristine, actinomycin D, ifosfamide, and adriamycin) and a total number of four courses, each lasting nine weeks, was recommended by the protocol. Local therapy in curative patients was either complete surgery (n = 162), surgery plus postoperative radiotherapy with 36-46Gy (n = 274), or definitive radiotherapy with 46-60Gy (n = 212). The median follow-up at the time of this analysis was 5.1 years, the maximum follow-up 16.5 years.


The overall survival of all patients including metastatic patients was 55% after 5 years, 48% after 10 years, and 37% after 15 years. Eight out of 674 patients (1.2%) developed a SM. Five of these were acute myelogenic leukemias (n = 4) or MDS (n = 1), and three were sarcomas. The interval between diagnosis of Ewing's sarcoma and the diagnosis of the SM was 17-78 months for the four AMLs, 96 months for the MDS and 82-136 months for the three sarcomas. The cumulative risk of an SM was 0.7% after 5 years, 2.9% after 10 years, and 4.7% after 15 years. Out of five patients with AML/MDS, three died of rapid AML-progression, and two are living with disease. Local therapy (surgery vs. surgery plus postoperative irradiation vs. definitive radiotherapy) had no impact on the frequency of AML/MDS, but local therapy did influence the risk of secondary sarcomas. All three patients with secondary sarcomas had received radiotherapy; however, all three sarcomas were salvaged by subsequent treatment and are in clinical remission with a follow-up of 1 month, 4.3 years, and 7.5 years after the diagnosis of the secondary sarcoma. Thus far, SM contributed to less than 1 % (3/328) of all deaths in the CESS-studies.


The risk of leukemia after treatment for Ewing's sarcoma is probably in the range of 2%. The risk of solid tumors also seems to be low within the first 10 years after treatment and remains in the range of 5 % after 15 years. In the CESS-studies, less than 1% of all deaths within the first 10 years after diagnosis were caused by SM. Effective salvage therapy for secondary sarcomas is feasible.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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