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Adherence to Guidelines for Adult (Non-GIST) Soft Tissue Sarcoma in the Netherlands: A Plea for Dedicated Sarcoma Centers

Harald J. Hoekstra MD, PhD, Rick L. M. Haas MD, PhD, Cornelis Verhoef MD, PhD, Albert J. H. Suurmeijer MD, PhD, Carla S. P. van Rijswijk MD, PhD, Ben G. H. Bongers MD, Winette T. van der Graaf MD, PhD, Vincent K. Y. Ho MSc, PhD
Bone and Soft Tissue Sarcomas
Volume 24, Issue 11 / October , 2017



Optimal management of soft tissue sarcoma (STS) remains a challenge. A nationwide survey assessed the quality of STS care in the Netherlands, thereby aiming to identify potentialities for improvement through more centralized disease management.


From the Netherlands Cancer Registry (NCR), data were obtained on 3317 adult STS patients (excluding gastrointestinal stromal tumor, GIST) diagnosed in 2006–2011. Logistic regression models were employed to compare outcomes on selected clinical indicators reflecting prevailing STS guidelines between high-volume (≥10 resections annually) and low-volume (<10 resections) hospitals, between academic and general hospitals, and between sarcoma research centers and other hospitals, adjusted for case mix. Analyses were performed on imputed datasets (m = 50), generated through multiple imputations by chained equations.


Overall, 89% of patients underwent surgical resection. Resection status remained unknown in 24% (excluding those with metastasized disease), and grade was not documented for one-third of tumors. Microscopic residual disease was detected in 20% with an increased risk for older patients, larger and deeply located tumors, and those located in the (retro)peritoneum or upper extremity. Almost half of patients with an R1 resection received adjuvant radiotherapy. Following adjustment for case mix factors, patients treated in high-volume hospitals less often had macroscopic residual disease (R2 resection; adjusted odds ratio: 0.54). A strongly skewed distribution of surgical volumes was observed.


These survey results indicate a potential for improving Dutch STS care. More centralized sarcoma management should improve definitive pathology reporting on tumor characteristics, adherence to treatment guidelines and overall disease outcome.

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