Contributions from surgeons to clinical trials and research on the management of soft tissue sarcoma.
BACKGROUND: Surgical resection is the primary treatment for soft tissue sarcoma. Surgeons are in a position to develop and define appropriate treatment strategies for this disease. In an effort to define the contributions of surgeons to the management of sarcoma, the surgical and clinical oncology literature from January 1983 through June 1996 was reviewed. METHODS: A computerized literature search of the Cancerlit database for January 1983 to June 1996 was performed. The search was limited to the topic of soft tissue sarcoma and was further confined to 15 journals that publish articles relevant to surgical management. These studies were then categorized by multiple parameters and analyzed. RESULTS: The Cancerlit file contained 4478 articles in which sarcoma was the primary topic. When the search was limited to 15 journals frequently read by surgeons, 479 references (11%) were retrieved. Within the surgical literature, 95 of the 479 articles (20%) described prospective studies, of which 33 were prospective and randomized. These studies represent all but three of the prospective randomized trials within the literature during the time period reviewed. The management of patients with sarcoma was evaluated in 26 of the prospective randomized trials; of these, 13 trials evaluated adjuvant chemotherapy, three evaluated adjuvant radiotherapy, and ten evaluated the chemotherapeutic treatment of metastatic disease. Surgical oncologists were the first or senior author on 10 of the 16 prospective randomized studies regarding adjuvant radiation or chemotherapy. Four of the 16 trials evaluating adjuvant therapy contained more than 100 patients, and three of those four were from cooperative group efforts. All but one of the studies of adjuvant therapy with less than 100 patients were from single institutional trials. CONCLUSIONS: Although the surgical and clinical oncology literature on soft tissue sarcoma is composed primarily of retrospective reviews, the prospective randomized trials reported represent almost all of the randomized trials in the literature and have significant contributions from surgeons. Surgeons can guide and design clinical trials, but overall patient accrual as represented by soft tissue sarcoma is low, and may be improved through cooperative group efforts.
Allen, PJ; Stojadinovic, A; Shriver, CD; Jaques, DP
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