Treatment of pelvic sarcomas in adolescents and young adults with intensive combined modality therapy

Baldassarre Stea, Timothy J. Kinsella, Timothy J. Triche, Klara Horvath, Eli Glatstein, James S. Miser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Adolescent and young adult patients with pelvic sarcomas continue to have a poor prognosis with standard combination chemotherapy and local irradiation. In addition to a significant risk of local failure, these patients are at high risk for systemic relapse. Twenty-three consecutive patients with Ewing's sarcoma, alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, undifferentiated sarcoma, or malignant peripheral neuroepithelioma originating in the pelvis were treated with short, intensive combined modality therapy. This approach integrates 5 cycles of VADRIAC chemotherapy (Vincristine, Adriamycin, Cyclophosphamide) with high dose irradiation to the primary lesion (55-60 Gy) and sites of gross metastatic disease (45-50 Gy). Following achievement of a complete response, intensification therapy consisting of total body irradiation (TBI) (8.0 Gy), high dose VADRIAC chemotherapy, and autologous bone marow transplantation is given. All therapy is completed within 6-7 months. No maintenance chemotherapy is given; no surgery is intended. Of the twenty-three patients with pelvic sarcomas treated on this combined modality protocol, 22 achieved a complete remission. Local control was achieved and maintained in all twenty-three patients. With a median follow-up of 21 months since initiation of treatment, there have been nine relapses (all systemic). Seven relapses occurred among the thirteen patients who presented with overt metastatic disease and the other two relapses were among the ten patients with localized disease at presentation. All seven metastatic patients who relapsed have died, whereas both of the relapsed localized patients remain alive. Acute and late toxicities have been acceptable using this aggressive combined modality approach. Induction chemotherapy had a significant impact on reduction of the typically large (>10 cm diameter) soft tissue mass associated with these pelvic tumors, thus facilitating achievement of local control by high dose irradiation. Of 18 patients with measurable soft tissue tumor, all experienced a partial response (>50% reduction in size) following the initial two cycles of chemotherapy given prior to local irradiation. In conclusion, this short, intensive chemoradiotherapeutic regimen is highly effective in controlling the primary lesion (100% local control) and inducing a complete response in a high proportion (96%) of these high risk pediatric and young adult patients with pelvic sarcomas. The role of TBI as "systemic" adjuvant therapy to control micrometastatic disease is discussed as still under investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1797-1805
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1987


  • Combined modality
  • Pelvic sarcomas
  • Total body irradiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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