A prospective randomized trial of adjuvant chemotherapy with bolus versus continuous infusion of doxorubicin in patients with high‐grade extremity soft tissue sarcoma and an analysis of prognostic factors
A prospective randomized trial was conducted to compare the cardiotoxic and therapeutic effects of doxorubicin (60 mg/m2 every 3 to 4 weeks) administered by bolus or 72-hour continuous infusion as adjuvant chemotherapy in 82 eligible patients after resection of high-grade soft tissue sarcoma of the extremity or superficial trunk. Cardiac toxicity, defined as a 10% or greater decrease in left ventricular ejection fraction as assessed by radionuclide cineangiography, was evaluated in 69 patients. Cardiotoxicity was seen in 61% of patients in the bolus treatment arm with the median doxorubicin dose of 420 mg/m2. Among patients who received continuous infusion, 42% had cardiotoxicity with a median dose of 540 mg/m2. The rate of cardiotoxicity as a function of the cumulative dose of doxorubicin was significantly higher in the bolus treatment arm (P = 0.0017). Two patients in each group had clinical congestive heart failure, with one cardiac death occurring in each. There was a trend toward a lower rate of metastasis (P = 0.19) and a significantly lower rate of death of disease (P = 0.036) for patients treated with the bolus dose. Cox model analysis identified three unfavorable characteristics for the rate of developing a distant metastasis: blood transfusion within 24 hours of operation (P less than 0.00001), tumor deep to the fascia and 5 cm or more in size (P = 0.0043), and a histologic subtype other than liposarcoma (P = 0.0002). The unfavorable effect of continuous infusion was not selected in the model (P = 0.16). Adjuvant chemotherapy for patients with soft tissue sarcoma is investigational. Furthermore, the impact of perioperative blood transfusion merits further study.