Primary chest wall chondrosarcomas: results of surgical resection and analysis of prognostic factors†

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Wide surgical excision with tumour-free margins is the mainstay of therapy for primary chest wall chondrosarcoma (PCWC). Few studies on treatment outcome and prognostic factors of PCWC requiring chest wall resection are available. We analysed our experience on surgical treatment of PCWC with emphasis on survival and recurrence prognostic factors.


From 1986 to 2012, 89 patients (65.2% males, median age 55 years) with PCWC were operated on. The median tumour maximum diameter was 7 cm (range 2-30 cm).


We performed 23 sternectomies and 66 lateral chest wall resections (median ribs resected: 2; range 1-7). Resections were extended to lung (n = 19), diaphragm (n = 13), vertebral body (n = 6) or clavicle (n = 1). Negative margins were obtained in 85.4% of cases. Chest wall reconstruction was obtained mainly by prosthetic non-rigid or rigid materials and muscle flap coverage. In the last years, 3 patients received a sternal replacement with cadaveric allograft, and 2 had a chest wall reconstruction with titanium bars and 17 with a rib-like prosthesis. Perioperative mortality and morbidity rates were 0 and 12.4%, and 5- and 10-year overall and disease-free (on R0 resections) survival rates were 67.1 and 57.8%, and 70 and 52%, respectively. A favourable outcome (univariate analysis) was seen for G1 tumours (P < 0.0001), negative surgical margins (P < 0.0001), age ≤55 years (P = 0.005), no adjuvant treatment (P < 0.001) and diameter ≤6 cm (P = 0.005). Independent predictors of better survival (multivariate analysis) were negative surgical margins (P = 0.0001), G1 tumours (P = 0.02), age ≤55 years (P = 0.006) and diameter ≤6 cm (P = 0.006). A predictive risk factor for recurrence was histological grade.


Surgical resection of PCWC leads to good oncological outcome. Wide surgical margins and G1 tumours predicted a better prognosis and a lower recurrence rate. The evolution of surgical technique and the introduction in clinical practice of new prosthetic materials allowed larger resections, and safe and anatomical reconstruction.

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