The Surgical Management of Sacral Chordomas

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Abstract

Study Design.

Retrospective case series.

Objective.

The purpose of this study was to evaluate factors that contribute to improved local control and survival. In addition, we sought to define the expected morbidity associated with treatment.

Summary of Background Data.

Sacral chordomas are rare tumors presumed to arise from notochordal cells. Local recurrence presents a major problem in the management of these tumors and it has been correlated with survival. Resection of sacral tumors is associated with significant morbidity.

Methods.

Forty-two patients underwent resection for sacral chordoma between 1990 and 2005. Twelve patients had their initial surgery elsewhere. There were 12 female and 30 male patients. The proximal extent of the sacrectomy was at least S2 in 32 patients.

Results.

Median survival was 84 months, and 5-year disease-free (DFS) and disease-specific survival (DSF) were 56% and 77%, respectively. Local recurrence (LR) and metastasis occurred in 17 (40%) and 13 (31%) patients, respectively. Local recurrence (P = 0.0001), metastasis (P = 0.0001), prior resection (P = 0.046), and higher grade (P = 0.05) were associated with a worse DSF. Prior resections (P = 0.0001) and intralesional resections (P = 0.01) were associated with a higher rate of LR. Intralesional resections were associated with a lower DSF (P = 0.0001). Wide contaminated margins treated with cryosurgery and/or radiation were not associated with a higher LR rate. Rectus abdominus flaps were associated with decreased wound complications (P = 0.01). Thirty-one (74%) patients reported that they self catheterize; and 16 (38%) patients required bowel training, while an additional twelve (29%) patients had a colostomy. Twenty-eight (67%) patients reported sexual dysfunction. Two (5%) patients died due to sepsis.

Conclusions.

Intralesional resection should be avoided as it is associated with a higher LR rate and worse survival. Rectus abdominus flaps ought to be considered as they lower the wound complication rate. Sacral resection is associated with significant morbidity.

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