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Growth modulation index (GMI), the ratio of two times to progression measured in patients receiving two successive treatments (GMI = TTP2/TTP1), has been proposed as a criterion of phase II clinical trials. Nevertheless, its use has been limited until now.We carried out a retrospective multicentre study in soft tissue sarcoma patients receiving a second-line treatment after doxorubicin-based regimens to evaluate the link between overall survival and GMI. Second-line treatments were classified as ‘active’ according to the EORTC-STBSG criteria (3-month progression-free rate >40% or 6-month PFR >14%). Comparisons used chi-squared and log-rank tests.The population consisted in 106 men and 121 women, 110 patients (48%) received ‘active drugs’. Median OS from the second-line start was 317 days. Sixty-nine patients experienced GMI >1.33 (30.4%). Treatments with ‘active drug’ were not associated with OS improvement: 490 versus 407 days (P = 0.524). Median OS was highly correlated with GMI: 324, 302 and 710 days with GMI <1, GMI = [1.00–1.33], and GMI >1.33, respectively (P < 0.0001). In logistic regression analysis, the sole predictive factor was the number of doxorubicin-based chemotherapy cycles.GMI seems to be an interesting end point that provides additional information compared with classical criteria. GMI >1.33 is associated with significant OS improvement.