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Ann Surg. 1993 Jan;217(1):72-7.

Lymph node metastasis from soft tissue sarcoma in adults. Analysis of data from a prospective database of 1772 sarcoma patients.

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Department of Surgery, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York 10021.


To examine the natural history of lymph node metastasis from sarcomas and the utility of therapeutic lymphadenectomy, clinical histories of all adult patients identified by a prospective sarcoma database for the 10-year period July 1982 to July 1991 were examined. Of the 1772 sarcoma patients, 46 (2.6%) were identified with lymph node metastasis. Median follow-up of all patients from diagnosis of lymph node metastasis was 12.9 months (range, 0 to 100 months). Median survival for nonsurvivors was 12.7 months (range, 0 to 40.7). The tumor types with the highest incidence of lymph node metastasis are angiosarcoma (5/37 total cases; 13.5%), embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma (ERMS) (12/88 total cases; 13.6%), and epithelioid sarcoma (2/12 total cases; 16.7%). Lymph node metastasis from visceral primary (p = 0.004) and malignant fibrous histiocytomas (p = 0.006) were associated with particularly poor prognosis. Thirty-one patients underwent radical, therapeutic lymphadenectomy with curative intent, whereas 15 patients had less than curative procedures, in most cases biopsy only. Patients not treated with radical lymphadenectomy had a median survival of 4.3 months (range, 1 to 32) whereas radical lymphadenectomy was associated with a 16.3 month median survival and the only long-term survivors (46% 5-year survival by Kaplan-Meier). The authors conclude that lymph node metastases from sarcoma are rare in adults, but vigilance is warranted, especially in angiosarcoma, ERMS, and epithelioid subtypes. Radical lymphadenectomy is appropriate treatment for isolated metastasis to regional lymph nodes and may provide long-term survival.

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