European journal of surgical oncology : the journal of the European Society of Surgical Oncology and the British Association of Surgical Oncology

Outcomes of isolated limb perfusion in the treatment of extremity soft tissue sarcoma: a systematic review.

PMID 23351681


Isolated limb perfusion (ILP) may provide a limb salvage option for locally advanced soft tissue sarcoma (STS) not amenable to local resection. A systematic review was performed for studies reporting outcome of ILP for locally advanced STS performed after 1980 in patients aged ≥ 12 years old. The main endpoints were tumour response and limb salvage rates. Complication and recurrence rates were secondary endpoints. Eighteen studies were included, providing outcomes for 1030 patients. Tumour necrosis factor-alpha with melphalan was the commonest chemotherapy regime. When reported, 22% of cases achieved a complete tumour response (216/964, 15 studies) with an overall response rate of 72% (660/911, 15 studies). At median follow-up times ranging between 11 and 125 months, the limb salvage rate was 81% in patients who otherwise would have been subjected to amputation. However, 27% of patients suffered local recurrence and 40% suffered distant failure. ILP was associated with severe locoregional reactions in 4% (22/603) of patients. Amputation due to complications within 30 days was necessary in 1.2% of cases (7/586, nine studies). There was insufficient evidence to determine the effect of ILP on survival. ILP induces a high tumour response rate, leads to a high limb salvage rate but is associated with a high recurrence rate. It provides a limb salvage alternative to amputation when local control is necessary.