Combined modality treatment of adult soft tissue sarcomas of the head and neck

W. Gillies McKenna, Margaret M. Barnes, Timothy J. Kinsella, Steven A. Rosenberg, Ernest E. Lack, Eli Glatstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Between 1975 and 1985, 16 adult patients high grade soft tissue sarcomas arising in the head and neck were treated with combined modality therapy at the National Cancer Institute. Fifteen patients underwent an attempt at gross resection, while only a biopsy was performed in 1 patient. All patients received conventionally fractionated, high-dose, post-operative irradiation. Twelve of 16 patients received adjuvant chemotherapy with cyclophosphamide and adriamycin, given concomitantly with radiation therapy. With a median follow-up of 43 months from diagnosis (range 11-116 months), 10 patients (64%) are disease-free. Of these 10 patients, 1 presented with pulmonary metastases and 2 patients later failed in the lung; all pulmonary disease was resected and these patients are disease-free at 80, 115, and 116 months following presentation. Local control was maintained in 12 patients (75%). An analysis of the iso-effect lines for local control shows a slope of 0.32. The median NSD for local control was 1720 ret. We conclude that aggressive local management of high grade sarcomas which combines gross resection and high-dose post-operative irradiation results in excellent local control. The role of adjuvant chemotherapy is less well defined in this small patient series. The acute and late complications of this combined modality approach are manageable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1127-1133
Number of pages7
JournalInternational journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1987
Externally publishedYes


  • Combined modality
  • Head and neck
  • Radiation therapy
  • Soft tissue sarcomas
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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