Soft Tissue Sarcoma Brain Metastases: Prevalence in a Cohort of 3829 Patients

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BACKGROUND. Brain metastases from soft tissue sarcoma (STS) are uncommon. To the authors' knowledge limited information is available regarding the influence of the initial STS site, the significance of parenchymal versus leptomeningeal metastases, and the role of surgical resection. METHODS. STS patients evaluated between July 1982 and March 1999 who presented with or developed brain metastases were identified from a prospective database. Association between factors was determined using the Fisher exact test. Survival was estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method. The influence of factors on the endpoint (disease specific survival [DSS]) was analyzed using the log-rank test. Significance was defined at P ? 0.05. RESULTS. A total of 3829 STS patients were evaluated during the study interval; 21 patients presented with and 19 patients subsequently developed brain metastases, accounting for < 1% (40 of 3829 patients) of the total patient group. The STS presentation status for this group of patients (n = 40) included 15 patients with primary STS, 1 patient with local recurrence, and 24 patients with metastatic disease. The most frequent types of STS metastasizing to the brain were leiomyosarcoma (eight patients), liposarcoma (five patients), rhabdomyosarcoma (four patients), and malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH) (four patients). Fourteen other sarcoma types were determined in the remaining 19 patients. Of the 19 patients who developed subsequent brain metastases, 18 had lung metastases as the immediate prior site of disease. The median overall follow-up for the 40 patients was 14 months (range, 1-128 months); for survivors (n = 5), the median overall follow-up was 18 months. During follow-up, 34 patients died of disease and 1 patient died of other causes. Brain metastasectomy was performed in 27 of the 40 patients and was highly associated with the initial site of STS; 20 of the 27 patients who underwent resection versus 2 of the 13 patients who did not undergo resection initially had extremity or trunk STS (P < 0.001). No association was observed between parenchymal versus leptomeningeal site of metastases and any outcome factor. The 1-year and 2-year overall DSS for the 40 patients was 55% and 25%, respectively, with a median survival of 15 months. The 1-year and 2-year postmetastasis survival rates were 34% and 20%, respectively, with a median survival of 7 months. Metastasectomy (n = 27) was associated with an improved median postmetastasis survival (9.6 months vs. 2.7 months for unresected patients; P < 0.01). The 2-year postmetastasis survival was 27% for those patients who undenvent resection and 0% for the unresected patients. CONCLUSIONS. Although brain metastases from STS are rare, vigilance is warranted. Symptomatic patients should be examined neurologically and investigated thoroughly for metastases. Surgical resection may be an appropriate treatment for selected patients; however, survival is dismal.


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