Ewing's sarcoma: Ten-year experience with adjuvant chemotherapy
Bone Density Conservation Agents
Since May 1970, 67 consecutive patients with primary (nonmetastatic) Ewing's sarcoma were treated with adjuvant chemotherapy (CT) in addition to radiation therapy (RT) or surgery for the primary tumor. The first 19 patients were treated with four-drug sequential CT (T-2). The second protocol was a seven-drug induction combination CT (T-6) followed by T-2 maintenance CT; in both protocols CT was continued for 18 months. The current protocol (T-9) consists of combination CT given continuously for a period of 9 months. Of the entire group of 67 patients, 47 (70%) had axial and proximal lesions (pelvis, spine, rib, humerus, and femur) and 20 (30%) had distal lesions (forearm, leg, and foot); 53/67 (79%) are surviving free of disease 12--118 months (median 41 months) from the start of treatment. Fifteen of 23 (65%) patients with axial lesions, 19/24 (79%) patients with proximal lesions, and 19/20 (95%) patients with distal lesions are free of disease. Disease-free survivors include 28/39 (72%) male patients and 25/28 (89%) female patients. Thirty-four patients had RT, and 33 had surgery or surgery and RT, in addition to chemotherapy, for local treatment. The disease-free survival rate was 76% in the RT group and 82% in the surgery group; failure in the RT group was attributable to local recurrence in 7/34 (21%) patients. Recent experience with T-9 CT has demonstrated that CT given prior to RT or surgery can cause a great reduction in the size of the primary tumor while allowing the pathologically-eroded bone to heal prior to the initiation of RT; this also allows the high-risk patient with an axial primary (pelvis or spine) to tolerate the aggressive CT needed to prevent distant metastases. In addition to dramatically increasing survival in patients with Ewing's sarcoma, combination CT has helped achieve permanent local control. The superior survival rates for all sites of primary tumor are attributable to the early use of aggressive combination CT.