A systematic meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of adjuvant chemotherapy for localized resectable soft-tissue sarcoma


  • The authors recognize the EORTC 62931 trial, which is now closed, representing data from a further randomized 351 patients. Published data from this trial will be a valuable addition to the current meta-analysis.



The use of adjuvant chemotherapy to treat adults with localized resectable soft-tissue sarcoma remains controversial. The objective of this systematic review was to update the 1997 meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to reassess the efficacy of doxorubicin-based chemotherapy with respect to recurrence and survival.


A comprehensive literature search was performed to identify RCTs of adjuvant chemotherapy for adult patients diagnosed with localized resectable soft-tissue sarcoma. Two reviewers independently assessed eligibility and quality of the studies using a modified version of the Detsky Quality Scale. The outcome measures were local, distant, and overall recurrence and survival calculated through the fixed effect or random effect model.


Four new eligible trials were identified allowing for a total of 18 trials representing 1953 patients to be included in the analysis. The odds ratios (OR) for local recurrence was 0.73 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.56-0.94; P = .02) in favor of chemotherapy. For distant and overall recurrence the OR was 0.67 (95% CI 0.56-0.82; P = .0001) in favor of chemotherapy. In terms of survival, doxorubicin alone had an OR of 0.84 (95% CI, 0.68-1.03; P = .09), which as not statistically significant. However, the OR for doxorubicin combined with ifosfamide was 0.56 (95% CI, 0.36-0.85; P = .01) in favor of chemotherapy.


This updated meta-analysis confirms the marginal efficacy of chemotherapy in localized resectable soft-tissue sarcoma with respect to local recurrence, distant recurrence, overall recurrence, and overall survival. These benefits are further improved with the addition of ifosfamide to doxorubicin-based regimens, but must be weighed against associated toxicities. Cancer 2008. © 2008 American Cancer Society.