The Society of Surgical Oncology surgical practice guidelines focus on the signs and symptoms of primary cancer, timely evaluation of the symptomatic patient, appropriate preoperative evaluation for extent of disease, and role of the surgeon in diagnosis and treatment. Separate sections on adjuvant therapy, follow-up programs, or management of recurrent cancer have been intentionally omitted. Where appropriate, perioperative adjuvant combined-modality therapy is discussed under surgical management. Each guideline is presented in minimal outline form as a delineation of therapeutic options.
The Society of Surgical Oncology surgical practice guidelines focuson the signs and symptoms of primary cancer, timely evaluation of the symptomaticpatient, appropriate preoperative evaluation for extent of disease, androle of the surgeon in diagnosis and treatment. Separate sections on adjuvanttherapy, follow-up programs, or management of recurrent cancer have beenintentionally omitted. Where appropriate, perioperative adjuvant combined-modalitytherapy is discussed under surgical management. Each guideline is presentedin minimal outline form as a delineation of therapeutic options.
Since the development of treatment protocols was not the specific aim ofthe Society, the extensive development cycle necessary to produce evidence-basedpractice guidelines did not apply. We used the broad clinical experienceresiding in the membership of the Society, under the direction of AlfredM. Cohen, MD, Chief, Colorectal Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering CancerCenter, to produce guidelines that were not likely to result in significantcontroversy.
Following each guideline is a brief narrative highlighting and expandingon selected sections of the guideline document, with a few relevant references.The current staging system for the site and approximate 5-year survivaldata are also included.
The Society does not suggest that these guidelines replace good medicaljudgment. That always comes first. We do believe that the family physician,as well as the health maintenance organization director, will appreciatethe provision of these guidelines as a reference for better patient care.
Symptoms and Signs
Evaluation of the Symptomatic Patient History and physical examination
Appropriate timeliness of surgical referral
Preoperative Evaluation for Extent of Disease Physical examination Chest CT
CT scan of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis in selected patients
CT scan of the head in selected patients
Liver ultrasound or abdominal CT
Role of the Surgeon in Initial Management Preoperative evaluation
These guidelines are copyrighted by the Society of Surgical Oncology(SSO). All rights reserved. These guidelines may not be reproduced in anyform without the express written permission of SSO. Requests for reprintsshould be sent to: James R. Slawny, Executive Director, Society of SurgicalOncology, 85 West Algonquin Road, Arlington Heights, IL 60005.
Soft-tissue sarcomas are tumors of putative mesodermal origin thatdevelop in the extraskeletal connective tissues. These tumors constitute< 1% of adult malignancies and approximately 7% of pediatric malignancies,and have an annual age-adjusted incidence of 2 cases per 100,000 population.Approximately 6,300 new cases of soft-tissue sarcoma and 3,100 deaths arereported annually in the United States.
Sarcomas occur most commonly in the extremity in adults and in the headand neck in children. Overall, approximately 50% of soft-tissue sarcomasoccur in the extremities, 10% in the head and neck, and 40% in the trunkand retroperitoneum.
There is little evidence to suggest a genetic predilection to the developmentof soft-tissue sarcomas other than in Li-Fraumeni kindreds, in whom p53tumor-suppressor gene mutations also create a predisposition to breastcarcinoma and a variety of other malignancies. Soft-tissue sarcomas alsooccur with greater frequency in patients with several other genetic diseases,including basal cell nevus syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, Werner's syndrome,Gardner's syndrome, and von Recklinghausen's disease (patients with vonRecklinghausen's disease, for example, have a 10% likelihood of ultimatelydeveloping a neurofibrosarcoma).
Environmental factors have not been convincingly demonstrated as relevantto the etiology of soft-tissue sarcoma in humans. However, 3-methylcholanthreneand several viruses have been implicated as etiologic factors in experimentalanimal studies. There is no demonstrable connection between retained foreignbodies or antecedent trauma and the subsequent development of soft-tissuesarcoma, although previous exposure to ionizing radiation and chronic lymphedemaare predisposing factors. In this latter context, however, the mostcommon histology is extraskeletal osteosarcoma followed by malignant fibroushistiocytoma.
Sarcomas are classified by histology as well as grade. The histologicclassification seeks to ascribe a putative cell of origin for the tumor.Overall, malignant fibrous histiocytoma is the most common subtype (40%of the total), followed by liposarcoma (25%).
Grade assignment is made on the basis of the number of mitoses per high-poweredmicroscopic field, nuclear morphology, degree of cellularity, cellularanaplasia, degree of necrosis, or other criteria that vary from centerto center. Unfortunately, light microscopic determination of histopathologyand grade are imprecise, and discordancy rates as high as 40% have beenobserved prospectively, even among expert sarcoma pathologists.
The American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) staging system (Table1) is most commonly applied in soft-tissue sarcoma for prognostic andtherapeutic purposes, although alternative staging systems have been proposed,including those of the Musculoskeletal Tumor Society and the Memorial Sloan-KetteringCancer Center. The AJCC system uses the four criteria of tumor, nodal status,grade, and metastasis (TNGM) to assign one of four disease stages.
Overall, tumor size and grade are the most important determinants ofprognosis. About two-thirds of all sarcomas are high-grade lesions.Newer information suggests that the prognostic risk for disseminated diseaseis most dependent on the histopathologic grade in the first 2 or 3 years,but after that the size of the initial lesion becomes at least as importantas grade. The overall incidence of nodal metastasis is < 3% and is thereforeminimally relevant to prognosis in most patients.
Stage I tumors are low-grade lesions of any size and are generally treatedby wide local excision. The addition of radiotherapy is dictated by tumorsize and anatomic constraints to a resection with negative margins.
Stage II tumors are intermediate-grade tumors of any size that are usuallytreated by surgery in combination with radiotherapy. Use of chemotherapyis generally reserved for stage II patients with recurrent disease or patientswho need tumor cytoreduction prior to resection with limb sal
Stage III lesions are high-grade lesions of any size that have not developedregional or distant metastases. High-grade tumors > 5 cm diameter havethe greatest tendency to metastasize and are treated by surgery in conjunctionwith radiotherapy. Many patients with these tumors are also eligible forprospective clinical trials of neoadjuvant or adjuvant multidrug chemotherapy.[7,8]
The two drugs with the greatest activity in soft-tissue sarcoma aredoxorubicin and ifosfamide (Ifex). However, overall response rates in thebest multimodality protocols are only 40% to 60%. Toxicities of chemotherapyare significant and include permanent cardiac muscle damage, transienturothelial injury, and temporary, although potentially life-threatening,myelosuppression.[7,8] Because of these serious toxicities, systemic chemotherapyfor soft-tissue sarcoma should be administered only in prospective trials,in which strict criteria for enrollment and follow-up monitoring can bemaintained.
Chemotherapy is the mainstay of treatment for stage IV disease (ie,soft-tissue sarcomas with regional or metastatic spread). In stage IV disease,surgery or radiotherapy is usually used solely for palliation. Surgerywith curative intent is generally impossible in patients with stage IVdisease; the only exception is pulmonary metastasis, for which curativemetastatasectomy is possible in selected patients undergoing complete resectionof the primary tumor.
Radiotherapy can be administered by external beam preoperativelyor postoperatively or, alternatively, as a postoperative interstitialimplant (brachytherapy). These various radiotherapy approaches havenever been directly compared in prospective, randomized trials.
Preoperative radiotherapy requires approximately 50 Gy to achieve tumorcontrol, which is comparable to the 65-Gy dose required for local controlif radiotherapy is given postoperatively. The increased postoperative doseis necessitated by the hypoxic postoperative wound environment, which alsomandates a wider radiotherapy field extending beyond the area of surgicalresection. However, postoperative radiotherapy avoids the significant woundhealing problems of preoperative radiation, the incidence of which approaches30% in some series.
Brachytherapy results in local control rates comparable to either preoperativeor postoperative external-beam radiotherapy (7% to 15% rate of local recurrencefor surgery with definitive radiotherapy in most series). In addition,brachytherapy is usually much more convenient for patients and appearsto be less expensive. Unlike external-beam radiation, there is minimalscatter radiation with brachytherapy, making this technique optimal fortumors near open epiphyseal plates, gonads, and other structures particularlyvulnerable to radiation toxicity.
Soft-tissue sarcomas of the retroperitoneum pose a special challengebecause they frequently grow to a large size before causing symptoms. Consequently,resection can be difficult (50% to 60% rate of resectability in most series).Central anatomic tumor involvement of the celiac axis, root of the mesentery,great vessels, or porta hepatis usually precludes resection.
The liver and lungs are equally frequent sites of metastasis from primaryretroperitoneal sarcomas. Complete surgical resection is the primary determinantof survival in patients with hepatic metastases; however, hepatic metastasectomyhas not been proven to be of value.
In the retroperitoneum, no prospective randomized trials have demonstratedimproved overall survival using chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy adjuvantlyor neoadjuvantly, although intraoperative radiotherapy may decrease localrecurrence.
Survival in soft-tissue sarcomas is driven by the reality that almost80% of metastases are to the lungs and that these usually occur within2 to 3 years of initial diagnosis. A 30% survival rate at 3 years can beanticipated if the pulmonary metastases are resectable.
Size, grade, surgical margins, depth of tumor, anatomic location, andprevious surgery are all important determinants of outcome. However, thesefactors have a variable impact on specific survival measures, such as overallsurvival, disease-free survival, local recurrence, and distant disease-freesurvival; ie, the prognostic factors predictive of local recurrence differfrom those predictive of distant metastases and overall survival.
Unlike some tumor systems, local recurrence of soft-tissue sarcoma isnot necessarily a harbinger of uncontrollable distant failure. Therefore,local recurrence should be treated aggressively to preserve the highestquality of life for the patient. Long-term follow-up is required becauselate recurrence is noted in up to 10% of patients after 5 years.
Patient-based outcomes research, which differs from physician-definedsurvival research, is still in its infancy for soft-tissue sarcoma. Inthe future, treatments will be assessed for their impact on survival, cost,and effect on quality of life as a means to maximize overall efficacy.These latter considerations will appropriately assume increasing importanceas the percentage of soft-tissue sarcoma patients achieving long-term cureincreases beyond the current 50% plateau level.
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