Role of brachytherapy in recurrent extremity sarcoma in patients treated with prior surgery and irradiation
The treatment options for recurrent extremity sarcoma following conservative surgery and irradiation are limited. Amputation is the treatment of choice offered for the majority of these patients. In a selected group of patients with recurrent sarcoma, we have investigated the role of brachytherapy along with function-preserving resection. From 1979 to 1988, 40 patients underwent resection and brachytherapy for recurrent extremity sarcoma. There were 23 males and 17 females. All of the patients received function-preserving resection and an afterloading temporary tumor bed implant. A median dose of 4500 cGy was delivered with a range from 3000 to 4800 cGy. The median follow-up was 36 months with a range of 12 to 120 months. The actuarial local control at 5 years is 68%. Five patients (12.5%) developed complications such as wound ulceration (4) and femoral fracture (1) requiring surgery. Five patients developed local failure and an additional two patients had both local and distant failure. All of the failures occurred in patients with more than two prior recurrences. This review suggests that brachytherapy can be used as an effective treatment option in selected patients with recurrent extremity sarcoma following prior surgery and irradiation with satisfactory limb preservation. The data also suggest that higher local control rates can be achieved with early brachytherapeutic intervention.