Scientific Article   |    
Pathologic Fracture in Osteosarcoma Prognostic Importance and Treatment Implications
Sean P. Scully, MD, PhD; Michelle A. Ghert, MD; David Zurakowski, PhD; Roby C. Thompson, Jr.MD; Mark C. Gebhardt, MD
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Investigation performed at the Musculoskeletal Oncology Division, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina; Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, Oregon; Primary Children’s Hospital, Salt Lake City, Utah; University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida; University of Miami Medical Center, Miami, Florida; and University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Sean P. Scully, MD, PhD
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street S.W., Rochester, MN 55905. E-mail address: scully.sean@mayo.edu

Michelle A. Ghert, MD
Division of Orthopaedics, Department of Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710

David Zurakowski, PhD
Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Biostatistics, Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115

Roby C. Thompson Jr., MD
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Minnesota Medical Center, 420 Delaware Street S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55455
Mark C. Gebhardt, MD
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, 32 Fruit Street, Boston, MA 02114

The authors did not receive grants or outside funding in support of their research or preparation of this manuscript. They did not receive 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, educational institution, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors are affiliated or associated.

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J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2002 Jan 01;84(1):49-57
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Background: The presence of a pathologic fracture in an osteosarcoma has been considered a poor prognostic factor and an indication for immediate amputation. The purpose of the present study was to determine, in the current era of neoadjuvant chemotherapy, whether a pathologic fracture in an osteosarcoma has prognostic importance and whether limb salvage can be safely performed in such patients without compromising clinical outcome.

Methods: In a cooperative effort of the Musculoskeletal Tumor Society, members from eight institutions provided retrospective data on fifty-two patients with osteosarcoma who had a pathologic fracture and on fifty-five patients with osteosarcoma who had not had a pathologic fracture and had been followed for at least two years or until disease recurrence, metastasis, or death. The two groups were matched for patient age and tumor location. Outcomes examined were survival and local recurrence. A subgroup analysis was performed to assess differences in outcome within the group with the pathologic fracture.

Results: The five-year estimated survival rates were 55% for the group with a pathologic fracture and 77% for the group without a fracture (p = 0.02). The rate of survival without a local recurrence at five years was 75% for the group with a fracture and 96% for the group without a fracture (p = 0.007). In the group with a fracture, seven (23%) of the thirty patients managed with limb salvage and four (18%) of the twenty-two managed with an amputation had a local recurrence (p = 0.75). Eleven (37%) of the thirty patients with a fracture who were managed with limb salvage and ten (45%) of the twenty-two patients with a fracture who were managed with an amputation died of the disease (p = 0.50). Five patients underwent open reduction and internal fixation followed by limb-salvage surgery. Two of them had a local recurrence and died at an average of eight months postoperatively. The remaining three patients were alive at an average of 6.1 years postoperatively. Local disease control and the survival of these patients were not significantly different from those for the thirty-three patients who were treated with nonoperative immobilization of the fracture followed by limb-salvage surgery.

Conclusions: Patients with osteosarcoma who present with a pathologic fracture or sustain one during preoperative chemotherapy have an increased risk of local recurrence and a decreased rate of survival compared with patients who have not sustained a pathologic fracture. The performance of a limb-salvage procedure in carefully selected patients with a pathologic fracture does not significantly increase the risk of local recurrence or death. Factors predictive of improved outcome, such as the response to chemotherapy and union of the fracture, should be taken into account when limb salvage is being considered.

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    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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