Extremity Soft Tissue Sarcoma in Adults

  • Karl E. Haglund
  • Thomas F. DeLaney
  • David C. Harmon
  • Andrew E. Rosenberg
  • Francis J. Hornicek
Part of the Medical Radiology book series (MEDRAD)


When treating soft tissue sarcomas (STSs) of the extremities, the major therapeutic goals are survival, local tumor control, optimal function, and minimal morbidity. Surgical resection of the primary tumor is the essential component of treatment for virtually all patients. A wide surgical margin is necessary for local tumor control when surgery is used without radiation, i.e., the cut should traverse normal tissue outside the reactive tumor zone. This is because sarcomas tend to infiltrate normal tissue adjacent to the evident lesion. Thus, removal of the gross lesion by a simple excision alone (only a narrow margin) is followed by relatively high rates of local recurrence. Radical resections are associated with a reduction in the local recurrence rate, but they may compromise limb function. The combination of function-sparing surgery and radiation achieves better rates of local control than either treatment alone, for nearly all patients with STSs, although combined treatment can be associated with acute wound complications in some patients and late normal tissue complications in others. Because both surgical and radiation techniques are both critically important for optimizing local control of tumor and functional outcome, it is important to manage these patients in dedicated multispecialty clinics comprised of physicians with expertise in sarcomas, including orthopedic and general oncology surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, sarcoma pathologists, and bone and soft tissue diagnostic radiologists. Radiation therapy can be given by external beam radiation (EBRT) or brachytherapy or combination thereof. EBRT can be given either pre-operatively or post-operatively.


Overall Survival Local Control Soft Tissue Sarcoma Positive Margin National Comprehensive Cancer Network 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karl E. Haglund
    • 1
  • Thomas F. DeLaney
    • 2
  • David C. Harmon
    • 3
  • Andrew E. Rosenberg
    • 4
  • Francis J. Hornicek
    • 5
  1. 1.Radiation Oncology Branch, National Cancer InstituteBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy CenterMassachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  3. 3.Hematology Oncology, Department of MedicineMassachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  4. 4.Surgical Pathology, Department of PathologyMassachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  5. 5.Orthopedic Oncology, Department of Orthopedic SurgeryMassachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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