Trimodality Treatment of Extremity Soft Tissue Sarcoma: Where Do We Go Now?

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Current treatment options in oncology


Extremity soft tissue sarcoma (ESTS) constitutes the majority of patients with soft tissue sarcoma (STS). Patients with localized high-grade ESTS > 5 cm in size carry a substantial risk of developing distant metastasis on follow-up. A neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy approach can enhance local control by facilitating resection of the large and deep locally advanced tumors while trying to address distant spread by treating the micrometastasis for these high-risk ESTS. Preoperative chemoradiotherapy and adjuvant chemotherapy are often used for children with intermediate- or high-risk non-rhabdomyosarcoma soft tissue tumors in North America and Europe. In adults, the cumulative evidence supporting preoperative chemoradiotherapy or adjuvant chemotherapy remains controversial. However, some studies support a possible benefit of 10% in overall survival (OS) for high-risk localized ESTS, especially for those with a probability of 10-year OS < 60% using validated nomograms. Opponents of neoadjuvant chemotherapy argue that it delays curative surgery, compromises local control, and increases the rate of wound complications and treatment-related mortality; however, the published trials do not support these arguments. Most treatment-related side effects can be managed with adequate supportive care. A coordinated multidisciplinary approach involving sarcoma expertise in surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy is required to achieve better outcomes for ESTS. The next generation of clinical trials will shed light on how comprehensive molecular characterization, targeted agents and/or immunotherapy can be integrated into the upfront trimodality treatment to improve outcomes. To that end, every effort should be made to enroll these patients on clinical trials, when available.