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Sarcoma. 2006;2006(1):87367.

The radiation response of sarcomas by histologic subtypes: a review with special emphasis given to results achieved with razoxane.



Relatively few results are available in the literature about the radiation response of unresectable sarcomas in relation to their histology. Therefore, an attempt was made to summarize the present situation.


This report is based on a review of the literature and the author's own experience. Adult-type soft tissue sarcomas, chondrosarcomas, and chordomas were analyzed. Radioresponse was mainly associated with the degree of tumor shrinkage, that is, objective responses. Histopathologic responses, that is, the degree of necrosis, are only discussed in relation to radiation treatment reports of soft tissue sarcomas as a group.


Radiation therapy alone leads to major responses in about 50% of lipo-, fibro-, leiomyo-, or chondrosarcomas. The response rate is less than 50% in malignant fibrous histiocytomas, synovial, neurogenic, and other rare soft tissue sarcomas. The response rates may increase up to 75% through the addition of radiosensitizers such as halogenated pyrimidines or razoxane, or by the use of high-LET irradiation. Angiosarcomas become clearly more responsive if biologicals, angiomodulating, and/or tubulin affinic substances are given together with radiation therapy. Razoxane is able to increase the duration and quality of responses even in difficult-to-treat tumors like chondrosarcomas or chordomas.


The available data demonstrate that the radioresponsiveness of sarcomas is very variable and dependent on histology, kind of radiation, and various concomitantly given drugs. The rate of complete sustained remissions by radiation therapy alone or in combination with drugs is still far from satisfactory although progress has been made through the use of sensitizing agents.

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