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Volume 6, Issue 1, Pages 19-26

Processes and Outcomes of Care for Soft Tissue Sarcoma of the Extremities

1Radiation Oncology Research Unit, Department of Oncology, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada
2Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Toronto, Canada
3Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
4Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
5Department of Medicine , University of Western Ontario, London, Canada
6Cancer Surveillance Unit, Cancer Care Ontario and University of Toronto, Canada
7Toronto Sunnybrook Regional Cancer Centre, 2075 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M4N 3M5, Canada

Copyright © 2002 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Purpose: A population-based cohort study of soft tissue sarcoma of the extremities (STSE) in Ontario, Canada was conducted using linked administrative databases.

Methods and materials: Electronic administrative databases were linked from the Ontario Cancer Registry, the Canadian Institute for Health Information, and Radiation Oncology Research Unit database of radiation therapy (RT) records.

Results: The definitive surgery was amputation for 6.0%, resection for 60.9%, biopsy for 7.5%; the remainder had no surgical record. Adjuvant RT was administered to 40.2% of cases. Among cases initially treated by surgical resection, 2.0% later underwent amputation and 9.5% underwent further resection during follow-up. The adjusted odds ratio (OR) for amputation as definitive surgery was 2.3 (1.19, 4.45) in eastern Ontario relative to Toronto. The likelihood of adjuvant RT among those not registered at a cancer centre within 3 months of diagnosis was decreased (OR = 0.20 (95% CI (0.13, 0.30)) relative to those registered. The adjusted relative risk of amputation at any time following diagnosis was 3.48 (95% CI (1.63, 7.46)) among cases not attending a cancer centre. The adjusted relative risk of death was 1.4; 95% CI (1.1, 1.7) among those not attending a cancer centre.

Conclusions: Cases not seen at a multidisciplinary cancer centre within 3 months following diagnosis of STSE have an increased relative risk for amputation at any time, and for death due to any cause. Many hypotheses for further study are suggested by the results of this analysis.