Patients with Soft Tissue Sarcoma Can Benefit from Much Shorter Radiation Treatments

Treating soft tissue sarcoma with radiation over a shorter duration is both safe and just as effective as a prolonged conventional course of treatment, according to a new study conducted by UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

In this study, researchers evaluated 52 adults at UCLA diagnosed with a soft tissue sarcoma of the limbs or trunk. The population of interest underwent a shortened form of radiation therapy for five days, followed by surgery. Subsequently, the researchers analyzed team followed the group for a mean of 2.5 years.

According to the results of the study, less than 6% of the patients with at least two years of follow-up on the clinical trial had a recurrence of their tumor, which is on par with studies using the conventional five-week regimen. “The main reason we treat sarcoma patients with radiation before surgery is to prevent the tumor from recurring where it was removed,” said lead author Dr. Anusha Kalbasi, assistant professor of radiation oncology in the division of molecular and cellular oncology in a press release. “As an added benefit, in some cases it can cause the tumor to shrink. So far it appears that the five-day treatment is working just as well as the five-week treatment.”

 

“Shortening the radiation therapy from five weeks to five days has been a very meaningful change for patients,” continued Dr. Kalbasi. “Five weeks of daily treatments is a burdensome commitment for patients. The daily back-and-forth can be expensive and time consuming, and it can really interfere with work, school or parenting. So, finding a way to safely shorten the radiation treatment is a significant advancement in improving the quality of care for patients with hard-to-treat cancers like sarcoma.”