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J Clin Oncol. 1988 Sep;6(9):1491-500.

Adjuvant chemotherapy for patients with high-grade soft-tissue sarcomas of the extremity.

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Surgery Branch, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.


We have previously reported the results of a randomized trial that demonstrated the survival benefit of adjuvant chemotherapy in the treatment of patients with high-grade extremity sarcomas compared with no chemotherapy. This regimen included doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, and methotrexate. This report updates and extends our experience. The median follow-up of this trial is now 7.1 years and reveals a 5-year disease-free survival of 75% and 54% for chemotherapy and no chemotherapy groups, respectively (two-sided P [P2] = .037). The 5-year overall survival for patients in this trial was 83% and 60% for the chemotherapy and no chemotherapy groups, respectively, with a trend towards improved survival in the chemotherapy arm (P2 = .124). Because of doxorubicin-induced cardiomyopathy we performed a subsequent randomized trial comparing this high-dose regimen to reduced cumulative doses of doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide without methotrexate. Eighty-eight patients were entered into this trial which has a median follow-up of 4.4 years. The 5-year disease-free and overall survival for patients treated with the reduced doses of chemotherapy was 72% and 75%, respectively, and was not significantly different from the high-dose regimen. No patients developed congestive heart failure on this study. We conclude that adjuvant chemotherapy improves disease-free survival in patients with extremity soft-tissue sarcomas. The overall survival advantage in patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy in our initial randomized high-dose chemotherapy trial has diminished though it continues to favor the chemotherapy group. A reduced-dose chemotherapy regimen was found to be comparable to the high-dose regimen.

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