Impact of Margin Status and Local Recurrence on Soft-Tissue Sarcoma Outcomes

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The impact of local recurrence and surgical resection margin status on survival in extremity soft-tissue sarcomas remains to be clearly defined. Our aim was to conduct a retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data to determine the prognostic relavance of positive resection margins and local recurrence for extremity soft-tissue sarcomas for survival.


Three hundred and sixty-three patients who underwent resection of localized primary extremity soft-tissue sarcomas with curative intent were selected from the United States Department of Defense Automated Central Tumor Registry. Outcomes for local recurrence, distant recurrence, disease-specific survival, and overall survival were analyzed according to clinical, pathological, and treatment variables with use of the Kaplan-Meier method (log-rank test) and the multivariate Cox regression model.


Positive margins (hazard ratio, 1.99 [95% confidence interval, 1.15 to 3.45]), local recurrence (hazard ratio, 2.93 [95% confidence interval, 1.38 to 6.23]), and distant recurrence (hazard ratio, 12.13 [95% confidence interval, 5.97 to 24.65]) were significantly associated with overall survival on multivariate Cox regression analysis. However, for disease-specific survival, local recurrence was not significant and tumor size of >10 cm (hazard ratio, 2.83 [95% confidence interval, 1.15 to 6.95]), positive margins (hazard ratio, 1.95 [95% confidence interval, 1.05 to 3.63]), and distant recurrence (hazard ratio, 9.46 [95% confidence interval, 4.37 to 20.47]) were independent adverse prognostic factors.


The disease-specific survival rate for patients with localized soft-tissue sarcomas was 89% (95% confidence interval, 85% to 92%) for five years and 75% (95% confidence interval, 70% to 81%) for ten years.


Positive surgical margins are consistently associated with adverse survival-related outcomes in localized soft-tissue sarcomas of the extremity. Local recurrence had a significant impact on overall survival, but not on disease-specific survival.

Level of Evidence:

Prognostic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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