Contemporary Therapy for Advanced Soft-Tissue Sarcomas in Adults: A Review

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Immune checkpoint inhibitors have shown promising results in several cancers and are now put to the test in sarcomas. This brief summary presents data regarding the previously approved and newer agents for more common sarcomas and focuses on specific sarcoma histologic subtypes or novel approaches for which there is particular optimism. Approaches involving epigenetic agents, metabolic therapy, and modulators of the tumor microenvironment represent other ways the field of sarcoma medical oncology will progress in 2016 and beyond.


A recent series of successful randomized trials provides new systemic therapy options for patients with metastatic soft-tissue sarcomas in the United States, after a gap of more than 10 years in which no new drugs were approved. The agents with most recent approval include pazopanib, trabectedin, and eribulin. As a sign that progress is not linear, 2 cousins of ifosfamide failed to show benefit in phase 3 trials, despite prior positive results of randomized phase 2 trials.

Conclusions and Relevance

The biological features of each sarcoma subtype are associated with specific sensitivity patterns to chemotherapy, and despite their rarity, future trials will need to emphasize specific histologic subtypes (many with well-defined genetic alterations) to best fit diagnosis to therapy.

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