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Fungating Soft-Tissue SarcomasTreatment Implications and Prognostic Importance of Malignant Ulceration
Benjamin K. Potter, MD1; Sheila C. Adams, MD2; Rabah Qadir, BA3; J. David Pitcher, MD2; H. Thomas Temple, MD2
1 Walter Reed Army Medical Center, 6900 Georgia Avenue N.W., Building 2A, Room 205, Washington, DC 20307. E-mail address: benjamin.potter@amedd.army.mil
2 Department of Orthopaedics, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, D-27, P.O. Box 016960, Miami, FL 33101
3 Tulane University School of Medicine, 1430 Tulane Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70112
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Disclosure: The authors did not receive any outside funding or grants in support of their research for or preparation of this work. Neither they nor a member of their immediate families received payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, division, center, clinical practice, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors, or a member of their immediate families, are affiliated or associated.
Investigation performed at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida

The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc.
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2009 Mar 01;91(3):567-574. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.H.00071
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Abstract

Background: Several variables have been reported as being prognostic with regard to the outcomes of soft-tissue sarcomas. Although the tumors are subjectively ominous, no prior study has been performed to evaluate the treatment or prognosis of fungating soft-tissue sarcomas.

Methods: We performed a retrospective review of all soft-tissue sarcomas treated at our institution between 1989 and 2004 that had been followed for a minimum of two years or until the death of the patient. Our study group consisted of twenty-four patients with a primary high-grade fungating tumor, and our control group consisted of 146 consecutive patients with a primary high-grade non-fungating tumor. The study cohorts were compared with regard to disease presentation, treatment, and oncologic outcomes.

Results: There were no significant differences in tumor size, tumor depth, or histopathologic diagnoses between the cohorts, although the patients with a fungating tumor tended to be older (mean, sixty-five years compared with fifty-five years in the control group; p = 0.004) and have shorter postoperative follow-up (mean, thirty-eight months compared with sixty-five months in the control group; p = 0.03). The proportion of patients presenting with metastases was significantly greater in the group with a fungating tumor (33% compared with 9% in the control group; p = 0.003). Significantly more patients with a fungating tumor underwent amputation (35% compared with 12% in the control group; p = 0.01), while a greater proportion of control patients received radiation therapy (68% compared with 39% in the group with a fungating tumor; p = 0.02). There was no difference in the proportions of patients receiving chemotherapy or in the local recurrence rates between the two cohorts. The Kaplan-Meier five-year overall survival estimates were 20% in the group with a fungating tumor compared with 63% (p < 0.0001) in the control group. The Kaplan-Meier five-year disease-specific survival estimates for patients presenting with localized disease was 58% in the group with a fungating tumor and 74% in the control group (p = 0.05). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that disease stage, fungation, and a tumor size of =10 cm were significant independent negative prognostic factors for disease-specific survival.

Conclusions: Malignant tumor ulceration is an independent predictor of a poor prognosis for patients with a high-grade soft-tissue sarcoma. Despite the discouraging overall prognosis, aggressive multidisciplinary treatment can lead to long-term survival in an important subgroup of patients with fungating lesions.

Level of Evidence: Prognostic Level II. See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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    Accreditation Statement
    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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