Adjuvant volumetric modulated arc therapy compared to 3D conformal radiation therapy for newly diagnosed soft tissue sarcoma of the extremities: outcome and toxicity evaluation

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OBJECTIVE: To assess the impact of adjuvant volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) compared with three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3DCRT) in terms of toxicity and local control (LC) in patients with soft tissue sarcoma of the extremities.

METHODS: From 2004 to 2016, 109 patients were treated, initially using 3DCRT and subsequently with VMAT. Clinical outcome was evaluated by contrast-enhanced MRI, thoracic and abdominal CT 3 months after treatments and then every 6 months. Toxicity was evaluated with Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events scale v. 4.3.

RESULTS: Patients presented Stage III soft tissue sarcoma disease (77%), localized tumor (95%) at the lower extremity (87%), adipocytic histotype (46%). Surgical resection was performed in all patients, followed by adjuvant 3DCRT in 38, and VMAT in 71. The median total dose was 66 Gy/33 fractions (range 60-70 Gy;25-35 fractions). More successful bone sparing was recorded using VMAT (p < 0.001). Median follow-up was 61 months, 93 and 58 months for 3DCRT and VMAT group, respectively. The 2- and 5 year LC were 95.3±2.1%, and 87.4±3.4% for the whole cohort, 92.0±4.5%, 82.9±6.4% for 3DCRT, 97.1±2.0%, 89.6±4.1% for VMAT (p = 0.150). On univariate and multivariate analysis the factors recorded as conditioning LC were the status of the surgical resection margins (p = 0.028) and the total dose delivered (p = 0.013).

CONCLUSION: The availability of modern radiotherapy technique permit a better conformity on the target with maximum sparing of normal tissue and acceptable side-effects. VMAT is a safe and feasible treatment with limited rate of toxicity, compared to 3DCRT. Results on LC of VMAT are encouraging.

ADVANCES IN KNOWLEDGE: Soft tissue sarcoma of the extremities can benefit from the use of VMAT, with a reduction of the high dose to bones to avoid radiation osteonecrosis. An adequate total dose of at least 66 Gy and a radical surgical margin allow a good local control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20190252
JournalThe British journal of radiology
Issue number1102
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019



  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Contrast Media
  • Extremities
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging/methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiation Injuries/etiology
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant/adverse effects
  • Radiotherapy, Conformal/adverse effects
  • Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated/adverse effects
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sarcoma/diagnostic imaging
  • Young Adult

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