Purpose: To explore the prognostic impact of isolated limb perfusion (ILP) in locally advanced extremity soft tissue sarcomas (ESTS). Methods: From August 1982 to April 2005, 1,119 patients affected by ESTS (girdle excluded) were observed and treated at our institution. Eighty-eight (7.9%) were judged non-resectable or locally advanced and underwent ILP. Thirty-seven patients received antiblastic alone (non-TNF-ILP) while 51 had anti-blastic + recombinant-tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-ILP). Local disease-free survival (LDFS) was calculated by the Kaplan-Maier method and was reported separately in the two subgroups. Results: Limb salvage was achieved in 83% (73/88) of the patients. The observed overall (complete + partial) response rate was 59%. In the TNF-ILP group a complete response (CR) was achieved in 21 (41%) patients, while in the non-TNF ILP group a CR was obtained in seven (19%) cases (P <0.05). Patients with in-transit metastases (epithelioid sarcomas and clear cell sarcomas) had a significantly worse long-term outcome (LDFS at 5 years was 40.9 vs 67.3%, P <0.05). A trend towards a better LDFS at 5 years could be observed in the patients receiving TNF (63.6 vs 57.1%) and post-operative radiation therapy (RT) (79.3 vs 55.4%). Conclusions: Isolated limb perfusion is an active treatment. By adding TNF a better local control seems to be obtained, possibly due to a higher rate of CR. It should therefore be considered as a valid option for patients affected by limb-threatening STS, save for in-transit metastases from epithelioid and clear cell sarcoma. Post-operative RT should always be considered.
- Isolated limb perfusion
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