Background: Hyperthermic isolated limb perfusion (HILP) with tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), interferon-gamma (IFN-γ), and melphalan is associated with a dramatic anti-tumor effect in which the neo-vascularization of the tumor is supposed to be the major target. The aim of the present study was to correlate the angiographic findings with the pathological response in patients undergoing HILP for locally advanced soft-tissue sarcoma.
Patients and Methods: Twenty-five patients, 14 male and 11 female, mean age 47 years (range 18–80) were studied. Angiographies were performed before and a median period of 7 weeks (range 4–14 weeks) after HILP. Eight weeks after perfusion, the residual tumor mass was resected and pathologically examined. The changes in tumor vascularization after treatment were scored and compared with the pathological response.
Results: All baseline angiograms showed a hypervascular tumor. After HILP, a normal angiography result (NA) was observed in 18 patients (72%) and an abnormal angiography result (AA) was observed in seven patients (28%). All patients with an NA showed a pathologically complete response (pCR) or a pathological partial response with >90% necrosis of the tumor. Of seven patients with an AA, pathological examination showed a pCR in one patient, 10–50% viable tumor volume in four patients, and no pathological response after perfusion in two patients. A good correlation was seen between angiographic and pathological classification (p<0.001).
Conclusion: An angiography performed after hyperthermic isolated limb perfusion with TNF-α and melphalan provides a good indication, regardless of whether a good pathological response is expected.
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