Long-term Results: Adjuvant Radiotherapy in En Bloc Resection of Sacrococcygeal Chordoma is Advisable

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Study Design.

A cross-sectional study.


The purpose of this report is to define the role of postoperative radiotherapy in the prevention of local recurrence (LR).

Summary of Background Data.

Sacrococcygeal chordoma is a slow growing, malignant tumor with a clinical poor outcome due to a high LR rate. Several studies emphasize that margin-free tumor resection is the most important predictor of LR. However, even after extralesional resection a high LR up to 80% remains.


A retrospective series of 15 patients who underwent surgical treatment for sacrococcygeal chordoma in one center between 1981 and 2003 was reviewed. Overall survival and continuous disease-free survival rates were compared between patients with intralesional resection with standard radiotherapy and patients with extralesional resection and no standard radiotherapy.


The median age at surgery was 53 years. The mean follow-up was 7 years or until death. Mean duration of preoperative complaints was 3 years. In 10 patients, an en bloc resection was (histologic resection margins were free) performed and in 5 patients, an intralesional resection was achieved. All but one patients with intralesional resection received radiotherapy (>50 Gy) and patients with extralesional resection only received radiotherapy in case of LR (6 of 10 patients). After extralesional resection (no initial radiotherapy), all 10 patients had LR of the tumor with a mean time to recurrence of 2 years. Six of these ten patients received radiotherapy after LR and had mean survival duration of 7 years. Only one (of five patients) in the group with intralesional resection and postoperative radiotherapy had LR after 11 years. The time to recurrence was significantly longer and we found a trend toward a longer overall survival in the group that received immediate radiotherapy after surgery.


The results support the strategy to add radiotherapy as standard adjuvant therapy to sacrococcygeal chordoma tumor resection.

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