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Surg Oncol. 2019 Jun;29:168-177. doi: 10.1016/j.suronc.2019.05.018. Epub 2019 May 21.

Trends in practice patterns and outcomes: A decade of sarcoma care in the United States.

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Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Department of Surgery, Philadelphia, PA, USA. Electronic address:
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Department of Surgery, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
University of Verona, Department of Surgery, Verona, Italy.



Soft tissue sarcomas (STS) represent a rare and heterogeneous group of tumors. We sought to characterize national trends in referral patterns, treatment strategies, and overall survival (OS) over the course of a decade.


Adult patients with extra-abdominal STS were identified using the National Cancer Database and categorized by diagnosis year (2005-2009 and 2010-2014). High-volume hospitals (HVH) were defined as those >90th percentile in volume of STS patients treated, and others were defined as low-volume hospitals (LVH). Standard statistical methods were used to compare treatment strategies and OS by diagnosis period.


Of 55,212 patients, 25,469 (46.1%) were diagnosed in 2005-2009 and 29,743 (53.9%) in 2010-2014. Despite increased utilization of neoadjuvant radiation therapy (26.6% vs. 34.8%, P < 0.001), the rate of R0 resections did not change (75.0% vs. 74.8%, P = 0.067). Furthermore, at a national level, OS did not improve over time (HR 0.99, 95% CI 0.96-1.01). When outcomes were stratified by volume, treatment at HVH compared to LVH was associated with improved rates of R0 resection (OR 1.27, 95% CI 1.20-1.35) and OS (HR 0.92, 95% CI 0.89-0.95). Moreover, there was a modest improvement in OS at HVH (HR 0.95, 95% CI 0.91-1.00), but not at LVH (HR 1.01, 95% CI 0.97-1.04). However, referral to HVH did not change over time (40.7% vs. 40.7%, P = 0.91).


OS for STS did not change at a national level over the course of a decade, although it improved at HVH. Further outcome improvements will likely require more effective systemic therapies.


High-volume hospitals; Low-volume hospitals; Multimodality therapy; Outcomes; Overall survival; Soft tissue sarcoma

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