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J Clin Oncol. 2005 Jun 20;23(18):4021-30. Epub 2005 Mar 14.

Adult-type soft tissue sarcomas in pediatric-age patients: experience at the Istituto Nazionale Tumori in Milan.

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Pediatric Oncology Unit, Department of Pathology, Istituto Nazionale Tumori, Via G. Venezian, 1 20133 Milano, Italy.



Nonrhabdomyosarcoma soft tissue sarcomas are a heterogeneous group of tumors for which optimal treatment remains controversial. We report on a large group of 182 patients younger than 18 years old treated at a single institution over a 25-year period.


In this relatively homogeneous subgroup of adult-type histotypes, surgery was the mainstay of treatment; radiotherapy was administered to 73 patients, and chemotherapy was administered to 114 patients (70 received chemotherapy as adjuvant therapy).


Overall survival at 5 years was 89% in patients who underwent complete resection at diagnosis, 79% in patients who had marginal resection, 52% in initially unresected patients, and 17% in patients with metastases at onset. Outcome was unsatisfactory in patients with large and high-grade tumors, even after gross resection; adjuvant chemotherapy seemed to improve the results in this group. Initially unresected patients who responded well to chemotherapy and subsequently underwent complete resection had an event-free survival rate of approximately 70%. The rate of response to chemotherapy was 58%.


The identification of prognostic variables should enable risk-adapted therapies to be planned. Patients with initially unresectable disease and patients with resected large and high-grade tumors are at high risk of metastases and treatment failure. Although the limits of this retrospective analysis are self-evident, our data would suggest that intensive chemotherapy (with an ifosfamide-doxorubicin regimen) might have a more significant role in these patients than what is generally assumed.

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