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Cancer. 2006 Aug 1;107(3):606-12.

Epithelioid sarcoma: Still an only surgically curable disease.

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Department of Surgical Oncology, University Medical Center Groningen and University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands.



Epithelioid sarcoma is a rare soft tissue sarcoma with a known high propensity for locoregional recurrence and distant metastases. The clinical behavior and prognostic factors that influence the survival of patients with epithelioid sarcoma were studied.


Twenty-three patients, including 16 men (70%) and 7 women (30%), who were treated for epithelioid sarcoma between 1979-2003 at the University Medical Center Groningen and Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, were reviewed retrospectively. The median age at diagnosis was 22 years (range, 1-54 years). At the time of diagnosis, 11 patients (48%) had metastases. Six patients with distant metastasis and 1 patient with an unresectable tumor received palliative treatment (30%). The remaining 16 patients underwent surgical treatment of local disease (11 patients) or locoregional disease (5 patients). Five patients in that group received isolated limb perfusion with tumor necrosis factor and melphalan.


The 5-year and 10-year disease-free survival rates for all patients were 34% and 17%, respectively; for the 16 patients who received curative treatment, both rates were 56%. In the latter group, 8 patients developed local recurrence (50%) after a median follow-up of 4 months (range, 1-14 months). Nine patients were disease free after a median follow-up of 50 months (range, 6-290 months). Tumor size >5 cm (P < .0026) at diagnosis and local recurrence (P < .0008) were significant predictors of survival.


The prognosis for patients with epithelioid sarcoma is poor, because a substantial number of patients present with extensive disease, lymph node metastases, and/or distant metastases. Treatment consists of radical surgical excision of the tumor and, if indicated, therapeutic lymph node dissection. In patients who have large tumors, isolated limb perfusion may be useful.

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