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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2009 Nov 15;75(4):1119-24. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2008.12.006. Epub 2009 Apr 11.

Bone fractures following external beam radiotherapy and limb-preservation surgery for lower extremity soft tissue sarcoma: relationship to irradiated bone length, volume, tumor location and dose.

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  • 1Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada.



To examine the relationship between tumor location, bone dose, and irradiated bone length on the development of radiation-induced fractures for lower extremity soft tissue sarcoma (LE-STS) patients treated with limb-sparing surgery and radiotherapy (RT).


Of 691 LE-STS patients treated from 1989 to 2005, 31 patients developed radiation-induced fractures. Analysis was limited to 21 fracture patients (24 fractures) who were matched based on tumor size and location, age, beam arrangement, and mean total cumulative RT dose to a random sample of 53 nonfracture patients and compared for fracture risk factors. Mean dose to bone, RT field size (FS), maximum dose to a 2-cc volume of bone, and volume of bone irradiated to >or=40 Gy (V40) were compared. Fracture site dose was determined by comparing radiographic images and surgical reports to fracture location on the dose distribution.


For fracture patients, mean dose to bone was 45 +/- 8 Gy (mean dose at fracture site 59 +/- 7 Gy), mean FS was 37 +/- 8 cm, maximum dose was 64 +/- 7 Gy, and V40 was 76 +/- 17%, compared with 37 +/- 11 Gy, 32 +/- 9 cm, 59 +/- 8 Gy, and 64 +/- 22% for nonfracture patients. Differences in mean, maximum dose, and V40 were statistically significant (p = 0.01, p = 0.02, p = 0.01). Leg fractures were more common above the knee joint.


The risk of radiation-induced fracture appears to be reduced if V40 <64%. Fracture incidence was lower when the mean dose to bone was <37 Gy or maximum dose anywhere along the length of bone was <59 Gy. There was a trend toward lower mean FS for nonfracture patients.

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