Outcome after local recurrence of osteosarcoma

The St. Jude Children's Research Hospital experience (1970–2000)




Despite improvements in therapy for osteosarcoma, approximately 4–10% of patients experience a local recurrence and have a poor prognosis.


The authors analyzed prognostic factors for survival in 26 patients with a local recurrence of osteosarcoma who were treated between 1970 and 2000.


The initial surgical procedure was amputation in 20 patients (76.9%) and limb salvage in 6 patients (23.1%). The median time from the diagnosis of osteosarcoma to local recurrence was 1.2 years (range, 1.2 months–6.1 years). Eleven patients (42.3%) developed an isolated local recurrence and 15 patients (57.7%) developed local and distant recurrence. The 5-year estimate of postrecurrence survival (PRS) (± 1 standard error) for the 26 patients was 19.2% ± 7.7%. Recurrence ≥ 2 years from the time of diagnosis was found to predict a better outcome (5-year PRS of 50.0% ± 20.4%) compared with earlier recurrence (10.0% ± 5.5%) (P = 0.037). Patients with negative margins after initial surgery were found to have improved survival (5-year PRS of 33.3% ± 13.6%) compared with patients with positive margins (7.1% ± 4.9%) (P = 0.015). Patients who underwent complete surgical resection at the time of recurrence were found to have a better PRS (5-year PRS of 41.7% ± 14.2%) compared with patients who did not undergo surgery (0% ± 0%) (P < 0.001).


The prognosis for patients after local recurrence of osteosarcoma is poor. Complete surgical resection at the time of recurrence is essential for survival. Positive margins at the time of initial surgical resection and early recurrence appear to be poor prognostic factors. Cancer 2004. © 2004 American Cancer Society.