Results of radiation therapy performed after unplanned surgery (without re-excision) for soft tissue sarcomas

Lucyna Kepka, Herman D. Suit, Saveli I. Goldberg, Andrew E. Rosenberg, Mark C. Gebhardt, Francis J. Hornicek, Thomas F. DeLaney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose: For soft tissue sarcomas (STS), some patients undergo an "unplanned surgery," non-oncologic resection for presumed benign tumor. The treatment of choice, in such cases, is re-excision combined (if indicated) with radiation. However, there are clinical situations when treatment by radiation alone is recommended. Here results of such an approach are assessed. Materials and Methods: Seventy-eight patients irradiated after unplanned surgery between 1970 and 1997 were identified from the MGH institutional database. Surgical margins were inevaluable in 50 (64%) and 28 (36%) had positive margins. Tumor characteristics: location, lower extremity (63%), upper extremity (27%), other (10%); median tumor size, 5 cm; grade-G1 (19%), G2 (49%), G3 (32%); AJCC stage (2002)-I (19%), II (54%), III (27%). Median radiation dose given was 66 Gy (range: 51-88). Results: With a median follow-up of 10 years, estimated local control rate was 88% and 86% at 5 and 10 years, respectively. Distant control rate was 80% at 5 and 10 years. Depth in the relation to the fascia, tumor size, and AJCC stage significantly influenced local recurrence- and distant metastasis-free survival. Ten major radiotherapy complications occurred from 1 to 21 years after treatment. Conclusions: Despite convincing data about the necessity for re-excision after unplanned surgery for STS, these results demonstrate that radiation therapy alone can be an effective alternate for those patients in whom functional or medical considerations preclude further surgery. The risk for potential radiation therapy complications, however, must also be considered in the treatment decision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-45
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of surgical oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Local control
  • Radiation therapy
  • Radiotherapy complications
  • Re-excision
  • Soft tissue sarcoma
  • Unplanned excision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology


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