Opinion remains divided as to whether the development of pathological fracture affects the prognosis of patients with an osteosarcoma of the extremities.
We conducted a comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis of papers which reported the outcomes of osteosarcoma patients with and without a pathological fracture. There were eight eligible papers for final analysis which reported on 1713 patients, of whom 303 (17.7%) had a pathological fracture. The mean age for 1464 patients in six studies was 23.2 years old (2 to 82). The mean follow-up for 1481 patients in seven studies was 90.1 months (6 to 240).
The pooled estimates of local recurrence rates in osteosarcoma patients with and without pathological fractures were 14.4% (8.7 to 20.0)versus11.4% (8.0 to 14.8). The pooled estimate of relative risk was 1.39 (0.89 to 2.20). The pooled estimates of five-year event-free survival rates in osteosarcoma patients with and without a pathological fracture were 49.3% (95% CI 43.6 to 54.9)versus66.8% (95% CI 60.7 to 72.8). The pooled estimate of relative risk was 1.33 (1.12 to 1.59). There was no significant difference in the rate of local recurrence between patients who were treated by amputation or limb salvage.
The development of a pathological fracture is a negative prognostic indicator in osteosarcoma and is associated with a reduced five-year event-free survival and a possibly higher rate of local recurrence. Our findings suggest that there is no absolute indication for amputation, as similar rates of local recurrence can be achieved in patients who are carefully selected for limb salvage.
Cite this article:Bone Joint J2014; 96-B:1396-1403