One hundred fifty-six patients with high-grade soft-tissue sarcomas of the extremities treated on prospective randomized trials were analyzed to determine the impact of perioperative blood transfusions on tumor recurrence and patient survival. A significant increase in the incidence of tumor recurrence and decrease in survival were associated with the receipt of blood transfusions at the time of definitive surgical therapy of the sarcoma. Actuarial 5-year continuous disease-free survival was 70% in patients who had not been transfused compared to 48% in patients who received one or more transfusions (P = .007). Overall 5-year surival was also substantially decreased in patients receiving transfusions (85% compared to 63%; P = .0035). A direct relationship existed between the number of transfusions administered and the decrease in disease-free and overall survival; the larger the number of transfusions the worse the prognosis (P < .0001 and P = .0001, respectively). A large number of other prognostic factors were included in the analysis including the age, sex, race of the patient, histology of the primary lesion, anatomic site of the primary lesion, final surgical margins, size of the tumor, type of surgery required, the use of chemotherapy, actual time in the operating room under anesthesia, the exact anesthetic agent used, and the individual surgeon who performed the operation. Accounting for all of these factors a strong assocation continued to exist between the receipt of blood transfusion and poor patient prognosis. We have previously shown that adjuvant chemotherapy is of benefit to patients with high-grade extremity sarcomas, and 132 (84.6%) of 156 patients in this series received chemotherapy. In patients receiving chemotherapy, blood transfusions were associated with increased recurrence (P < .0001) and decreased survival (P = .0001). The only other significant independent prognostic variable in these patients was the size of the primary tumor. An analysis of all patients, stratified for tumor size, revealed an impact of transfusions on increasing recurrence (P = .007) and decreasing survival (P = .016). An analysis of the subpopulation of patients with large tumors (> 150 mL) gave the same results (P = .03 and .015, respectively). It thus appears that the receipt of blood transfusions is associated with increased tumor recurrence and decreased survival in patients with high-grade soft-tissue sarcomas of the extremities. If, in fact, a causal relationship exists between blood transfusions and increased rates of tumor recurrence, then it is possible that relatively simple alterations in blood banking practices may have a significant impact on improving survival rates following the surgical therapy of cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research