Surgery followed by postoperative radiation therapy (RT) is the standard of care for soft tissue sarcomas (STS) of the head and neck that are high grade or have close or positive margins.
The authors retrospectively reviewed adult patients with head and neck STS treated with RT at a single institution between 1981 and 2017. All patients who were 19 years and older with STS of the head and neck—excluding rhabdomyosarcoma, angiosarcoma, and Ewing tumors—were included in this study. Toxicity was graded using Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE), version 4.
Among 34 patients with head and neck STS treated with postoperative RT (33) or primary RT (1) who met the inclusion criteria, the median age at diagnosis was 45 years (range, 20 to 83). Overall, 37% had T1 tumors, 50% had high-grade histology (grade 3), and 26% had microscopically positive margins. The median RT dose was 65 Gy to the primary site; 29% received elective nodal irradiation. The median follow-up for living patients was 16.6 years (range, 0.6 to 30). At 5 and 10 years, the local control rates were 88% and 80%, the regional control rates were 97% and 97%, the freedom from distant metastases rates were 100% and 100%, the cause-specific survival rates were 88% and 81%, and the overall survival rates were 85% and 69%. Two patients (6%) developed late grade 3+ complications.
Our study demonstrates that surgery and radiotherapy for STS of the head and neck have excellent disease outcomes.