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Pulmonary Metastases From Soft Tissue Sarcoma: Analysis of Patterns of Disease and Postmetastasis Survival

Billingsley, Kevin G. MD*; Burt, Michael E. MD, PhD*; Jara, Ellen BS*; Ginsberg, Robert J. MD*; Woodruff, James M. MD; Leung, Denis H. Y. PhD; Brennan, Murray F. MD*

Scientific Papers of the Southern Surgical Association

Objective To report the patterns of disease and postmetastasis survival for patients with pulmonary metastases from soft tissue sarcoma in a large group of patients treated at a single institution. Clinical factors that influence postmetastasis survival are analyzed.

Summary Background Data For patients with soft tissue sarcoma, the lungs are the most common site of metastatic disease. Although pulmonary metastases most commonly arise from primary tumors in the extremities, they may arise from almost any primary site or histology. To date, resection of disease has been the only effective therapy for metastatic sarcoma.

Methods From July 1982 to February 1997, 3149 adult patients with soft tissue sarcoma were admitted and treated at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. During this interval, 719 patients either developed or presented with lung metastases. Patients were treated with resection of metastatic disease whenever possible. Disease-specific survival was the endpoint of the study. Time to death was modeled using the method of Kaplan and Meier. The association of factors to time-to-event endpoints was analyzed using the log-rank test for univariate analysis and the Cox proportional hazards model for multivariate analysis.

Results The overall median survival from diagnosis of pulmonary metastasis for all patients was 15 months. The 3-year actuarial survival rate was 25%. The ability to resect all metastatic disease completely was the most important prognostic factor for survival. Patients treated with complete resection had a median survival of 33 months and a 3-year actuarial survival rate of 46%. For patients treated with nonoperative therapy, the median survival was 11 months. A disease-free interval of more than 12 months before the development of metastases was also a favorable prognostic factor. Unfavorable factors included the histologic variants of liposarcoma and malignant peripheral nerve tumors and patient age older than 50 years at the time of treatment of metastasis.

Conclusions Resection of metastatic disease is the single most important factor that determines outcome in these patients. Long-term survival is possible in selected patients, particularly when recurrent pulmonary disease is resected. Surgical excision should remain the treatment of choice for metastases of soft tissue sarcoma to the lung.

From the Departments of *Surgery, †Pathology, and ‡Biostatistics, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York

Correspondence: Murray F. Brennan, MD, Department of Surgery, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Ave., New York, NY 10021.

Presented at the 110th Annual Meeting of the Southern Surgical Association, December 6–9, 1998, The Breakers, West Palm Beach, Florida.

Supported by USPHS Program Project Grant (MFB) CA 47179.

Accepted for publication December 1998.

© 1999 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.