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Cancer. 2009 Jul 1;115(13):2988-98. doi: 10.1002/cncr.24370.

Synovial sarcoma: retrospective analysis of 250 patients treated at a single institution.

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Department of Chemotherapy, Rizzoli Orthopedic Institute, Bologna, Italy.



The optimal treatment for synovial sarcoma remains controversial. Treatment, outcome, and prognostic factors in patients treated in a single institution were examined.


Synovial sarcoma patients who underwent surgery at the Rizzoli Institute between 1976 and 2006 were identified and analyzed.


Characteristics of the 250 patients (128 female; 122 male) included: median age, 37 years (range, 7-83 years); 177 (71%) with tumors in the lower extremity, 40 (16%) with tumors in the upper extremity, and 33 with tumors in the trunk (13%); primary lesion size >5 cm in 121 patients (55%); and 204 (82%) patients with localized disease and 46 (18%) with metastatic disease at the time of presentation. All patients with localized disease underwent surgery. Twenty-four percent of patients underwent amputation. Adequate surgical margins were achieved in 88% patients. In patients with localized disease, radiotherapy was administered to 103 (50%) patients, and chemotherapy to 98 (48%). With a median follow-up of 5.5 years (range, 1-30 years), the 5-year overall survival rate was 10% for patients with metastatic disease and 76% for patients with localized disease (P = .0001). The 5-year event-free survival was 58% in patients with localized disease. Multivariate analysis indicated that size, age, histologic subtype, and the use of radiotherapy were independent factors for event-free survival.


In those patients with localized disease, a good rate of cure can be achieved. Age, size, histology, and use of radiotherapy influence prognosis, whereas to the authors' knowledge, the role of adjuvant chemotherapy remains unproven.

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