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Surgery leads to significantly better overall survival in radiation-induced sarcomas

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Patients with radiation-induced sarcomas have a poor prognosis and unique tumor characteristics, according to a study.

Although rare, for the approximately 50% of patients with cancer who undergo radiotherapy, there is a risk of developing secondary malignancies, including sarcoma.

This retrospective study analyzed the prognosis and outcomes of 2845 patients were diagnosed with sarcoma between 1979 and 2013. Of those, 64 (2%) had radiation-induced sarcomas, with a median interval from the original malignancy of 11 years.

The most common histological type was undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma with 33%. A total of 45 patients received curative treatment; 50 underwent surgery with 80% undergoing microscopically radical resection (R0).

Overall, the 5-year overall survival was 32%. Compared with patients who did not undergo surgery, those who did had significantly better overall survival.

Favorable prognostics factors of survival included no metastases at diagnosis, surgery, and R0 resection.

Callesen LB, Safwat A, Rose HK, et al. Radiation-induced sarcoma: A retrospective population-based study over 34 years in a single institution. Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol). 2020;29:S0936-6555(20)30485-4. DOI: 10.1016/j.clon.2020.12.009. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33386215.