Sarcomas are rare and heterogeneous tumours with a large proportion of patients requiring palliative intervention. They are regarded as relatively radioresistant and therefore achieving good palliation with radiation may require larger doses than for more common solid tumour types. Limited data is available regarding appropriate palliative radiotherapy dose fractionation. This case series aims to assess the effectiveness of radiotherapy in providing symptomatic improvement for advanced sarcomas. Method
: Data was retrospectively collected for patients treated with palliative radiotherapy between July 2010 and April 2019 at one institution. The primary outcome was documented symptomatic improvement following radiotherapy. Secondary outcome was overall survival. Results
: One hundred and five patients had a total of 137 sites treated using 25 different dose fractionation schedules. The median patient age was 54 (range 8–90) years. Treated sites included 114 soft tissue and 23 bone sarcomas. Data on symptomatic improvement was available in 56% and 67% of cases respectively. A total of 70% of soft tissue and 55% of bone sarcoma patients reported symptomatic improvement. Symptomatic response rates appeared to increase to a biological effective dose (BED) of 50Grey4
) (alpha beta ratio (α/β) = 4 for tumour) but did not continue to improve with further rises in dose beyond this. Conclusion
: Palliative radiotherapy offers symptomatic improvement for sarcoma patients with two-thirds of patients reporting reduction in symptoms. These results are limited by the heterogeneous study population including different sarcoma subtypes each with a probable different radio-sensitivity, treated with different radiotherapy schedules. Further prospective data collection is needed considering sarcoma subtype radio-sensitivity, to determine appropriate palliative dose fractionation schedules.
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