Chemotherapy Not Commonly Used to Treat Patients with Localized Soft Tissue Sarcoma, UCLA Study Finds

Chemotherapy is not commonly used in treating patients with localized soft tissue sarcoma (STS), according to a UCLA study published in Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

In this nationwide study, researchers used the National Cancer Database to analyzed patterns of care for nearly 20,000 adults who underwent surgery for primary high-grade soft tissue sarcoma from 2004 to 2016.

According to the results, the researchers observed that among patients whose cancer had not yet spread to other organs, only 22% were treated with some form of chemotherapy. The researchers found that even among patients with the largest and most aggressive tumors, less than half (45%) received chemotherapy. Moreover, the team found that patients were more likely to be treated with chemotherapy at facilities that perform at least 55 surgeries for sarcoma each year, versus people who received care at facilities that perform fewer such surgeries.

“We observed low rates of chemotherapy use in this population of patients with high-risk STS. Among patients receiving chemotherapy, the preference for multiagent chemotherapy and the balanced use of neoadjuvant and adjuvant chemotherapy reflected the nature of the existing clinical data,” the research authors wrote. “Treatment at a high-volume facility was the only variable associated with the use of chemotherapy, multiagent chemotherapy, and neoadjuvant chemotherapy, suggesting a preference for these approaches at more experienced treatment centers.”

The authors concluded via a press release, “The study highlights the infrequent use of chemotherapy for people with sarcoma, especially at medical centers that treat fewer people with sarcoma, and it paves the way for future study on which patients might benefit most from chemotherapy as part of their treatment for sarcoma.”