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Ann Surg. 1975 Nov;182(5):597-602.

Surgical treatment of 297 soft tissue sarcomas of the lower extremity.


The results of surgical treatment of 297 soft tissue sarcomas arising in the lower extremity were critically examined. En bloc wide soft part resection (158 cases) yielded five and ten year survival rates of 63% and 50%. Amputation or major disarticulation (139 cases) gave corresponding survival rates of 45% and 29%. The most frequent cause of treatment failure was distant metastases, commonly in the lungs. The tissue type of sarcoma, histologic grade of malignancy, and tumor size appear to be important determinants of survival irrespective of the type of surgical treatment. Local recurrence of sarcoma occurred in 18% of the cases, more commonly after soft part resections than amputations. The proximity of a sarcoma to major vessels, bone or joint tends to compromise the margins of a wide soft part resection, thus increasing the risk of local recurrence. In appropriate cases, the scope of soft part resection can be extended by en bloc excision of the femoral vessels, with the hope of improving local control of sarcoma. Amputation should br resorted to if an adequate margin of resection cannot otherwise be obtained. This decision must be weighted against the high frequency of distant metastases in this disease. Postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy and immunotherapy offer prospects of prevention of this tragic outcome.

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