, Volume 7, Issue 7, pp 526-534

Distant Soft Tissue Metastases: A Series of 30 New Patients and 91 Cases From the Literature

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Abstract

Background: Thirty patients with soft-tissue metastases were reviewed retrospectively and compared with 91 cases previously reported. Soft tissue metastases were most commonly presented to the musculoskeletal oncologist as a painful mass in patients with no history of cancer. In this setting, lung carcinoma was the most frequent primary source. The purpose of this article is to report the largest single series of distant soft-tissue metastases and to compare the findings with those of the literature.

Methods: Thirty consecutive patients were referred to musculoskeletal oncologists. Their cases were reviewed retrospectively for comparison with 91 cases from the clinical literature.

Results: The most common clinical presentation of the soft-tissue mass was as the presenting symptom of previously undiagnosed cancer or concurrent with the primary source of cancer. A minority of cases were discovered in the setting of widespread metastases. Twenty-one new patients had carcinomas, 6 sarcomas, and 1 each multiple myeloma, lymphoma, and melanoma. Lung carcinoma was the most common primary source. The most common presenting symptom was that of a painful mass. Skeletal muscle of the thigh was the most common site. Radiological features were not specific. Soft tissue sarcoma was a common clinical misdiagnosis. Twenty-one new patients were dead of disease at a mean 5.4 months (range 1–19 months) after diagnosis of the metastasis: this percentage was similar to that reported in the literature.

Conclusions: In this musculoskeletal oncology referral-based clinical series, soft tissue metastases most commonly occur in patients with a painful soft tissue mass and no history of cancer. Lung is the most frequent primary source. Treatment should be individualized according to the underlying disease and its prognosis.