• osteosarcoma;
  • chemotherapy;
  • adjuvant therapy


Methotrexate (MTX) has demonstrated significant activity against relapsed and metastatic osteosarcoma. However, there is little published data to indicate the appropriate dose for MTX when given as a component of a multidrug regimen for the treatment of osteosarcoma. Therefore, the investigators at the Childrens Cancer Study Group undertook a randomized clinical trial that compared Adriamycin and vincristine given with either highdose methotrexate or moderate-dose methotrexate as postoperation chemotherapy in the treatment of childhood osteosarcoma. We report here the results for 166 patients with completely resected nonmetastatic disease of an extremity.

The two therapies demonstrated equivalent disease-free survival (DFS). Further, no therapy prejudices survival after relapse. Approximately 38% of patients remain disease free 4 years after diganosis. Two relapses occurred in patients free of disease at least 36 months after initiation of treatment. Some factors found by other investigators to be prognostic of poorer DFS, namely, male sex, primary tumor in the humerus or femur, and larger primary tumors, demonstrated similar though not statistically significant trends. The presence of spontaneous necrosis in the tumor sample from the definitive surgery was associated with poor prognosis for DFS. We postulate that this feature represents rapidly growing tumors with increased potential for metastases.