Neoadjuvant treatment: a novel standard?

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Purpose of review

The aim of this study was to summarize developments in the adjuvant/neoadjuvant chemotherapy of high-risk adult-type soft tissue sarcomas (STS).

Recent findings

The role of adjuvant/neaodjuvant chemotherapy in these patients is controversial, with a meta-analysis suggesting a 10% survival benefit. Recently, a randomized controlled trial in high-risk STS of extremities and trunk wall showed a 20% improvement in progression-free and overall survival after three preoperative cycles of epirubicin along with ifosfamide compared with a histology-tailored chemotherapy. This study has major strengths, including the selected high-risk population and the full-dose chemotherapy regimen. However, this was an interim analysis with a short follow-up in a trial originally planned to test the superiority of a histology-driven chemotherapy. As to high-risk patient selection, the new AJCC TNM staging system adds primary tumour site as a stratifying factor, while available prognostic nomograms account for additional criteria.


A recent trial strengthens perioperative chemotherapy as an option for high-risk STS patients within a shared decision-making process. If the final analysis of this trial confirms the currently observed progression-free and overall survival benefits, perioperative chemotherapy may become a standard. Also, new staging tools may refine our ability to select patients with a risk high enough as to deserve chemotherapy.

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