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Acta Radiol Suppl. 1976;349:1-84.

Lymphatic dissemination of bone and soft tissue sarcomas: a lymphographic investigation.


The series consisted of 132 patients, 61 with primary bone sarcomas and 71 with primary soft tissue sarcomas. The patients were all evaluated by lymphography. The investigation included both patients who had not yet been treated and patients with suspected or confirmed metastases. All tumour diagnoses were confirmed microscopically. The findings as regards dissemination were based on clinical examinations, laboratory tests, roentgen examinations and lymphographies. In some cases, lymph node biopsies and surgical observations were also used. A total of 151 lymphographies were performed and 281 follow-up films taken. Preoperative lymphography was performed using the technique introduced by Kinmonth. For postoperative lymphography on the stumps of amputated extremities, two simple but useful methods were developed, which are presented here. Changes in the lymphographic appearance of lymph node metastases, the occurrence of new metastases, and the results of treatment were assessed by survey films and repeat lymphography. The generally accepted criteria for metastasis were used as a basis for the analysis of the lymphographic findings. The results may be summarized as follows: 1. Incidence of lymphatic dissemination. Different sarcomas varied greatly in their clinical course, including the frequency of dissemination. The lymphatic involvement in the metastatic cases was as follows: Bone sarcomas: 16 out of 28 (Table 10); of these, 13 were to regional lymph nodes, 8 to distant nodes and 5 to both (Table 14). Soft tissue sarcomas: 24 out of 40 (Table 11). All 24 had metastases in regional nodes, and 8 in distant nodes as well (Table 15). The highest frequencies of lymphatic spread in the different metastasized tumours were found to be: Bone sarcomas: reticulosarcoma 100%, Ewing's sarcoma 50%, osteosarcoma 47%. Soft tissue sarcomas: rhabdomyosarcoma 100%, synovial sarcoma 80%, neurogenic sarcoma 78%, leiomyosarcoma 67%. 2. Time-relation between lymphatic and haematogenic dissemination; The tendency to metastasize first via the lymphatics or via the blood vessels varied. Half of the cases of Ewing's sarcoma and reticulosarcoma had evidence of lymphatic spread before blood-borne metastases were detected. In the osteosarcoma cases, however, lymphatic dissemination was always preceded by haematogenic spread (Table 12). In synovial sarcoma, rhabdomyosarcoma and neurogenic sarcoma, the first dissemination was more frequently lymphatic than haematogenic (Table 13). 3. Possible existence of special lymphographic features of sarcoma metastases. Only reticulosarcoma displayed special characteristics. The lymph node metastases of reticulosarcoma of bone had lymphographic appearances similar to those found in reticulosarcoma of soft tissue or lymph node origin (Fig. 12). The lymph node metastases of other primary bone and soft tissue sarcomas had no specific lymphographic features and were indistinguishable from carcinomatous metastases (Figs 7, 9, 13, 15, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23). 4...

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