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The Prognostic Value of Lymphovascular Invasion in Truncal and Extremity Soft Tissue Sarcomas: An Analysis from the National Cancer Database

Cecilia G. Ethun MD, Alexandra G. Lopez-Aguiar MD, Jeffery M. Switchenko PhD, Theresa W. Gillespie PhD, Keith A. Delman MD, Charles A. Staley MD, Shishir K. Maithel MD, Kenneth Cardona MD
Volume 26, Issue 13 / December , 2019



The aim of this study was to determine the association between lymphovascular invasion (LVI) and overall survival (OS) in truncal/extremity soft tissue sarcomas (STS).


The National Cancer Database (NCDB) was queried for all patients, ages 18–85 years, who underwent resection of primary, truncal/extremity STS between 2010 and 2012, and had LVI data. The primary endpoint was OS.


Among 6169 patients identified, the most common histology groups were (1) liposarcoma (LPS, 24%), (2) undifferentiated pleiomorphic sarcoma (UPS, 19%), and (3) leiomyosarcoma (LMS, 15%); 449 patients (7%) were LVI-positive. There were no differences in demographics or comorbidities between the LVI groups. Compared with LVI-negative patients, LVI-positive patients were more likely to have larger (> 5 cm: 80% vs. 66%), deep (80% vs. 68%), and high-grade tumors (82% vs. 57%). They were also more likely to have positive margins (27% vs. 17%), nodal (16% vs. 2%) and metastatic disease (21% vs. 4%), and receive chemotherapy (37% vs. 18%; all p < 0.001). LVI was associated with worse median OS (39 months vs. MNR; p < 0.001), which persisted on stratum-specific analyses for all tumor grades, size categories, and stages I–III, but not stage IV. On multivariable Cox regression, LVI was associated with worse OS (hazard ratio [HR] 1.84, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.39–2.44), while accounting for other significant prognostic factors. Among non-metastatic, curative-intent resections (n = 5696), LVI was still associated with worse OS (HR 1.79, 95% CI 1.28–2.49).


LVI appears to be an important adverse pathologic factor in truncal and extremity STS. Even when taking into account other established prognostic factors, LVI was predictive of worse OS. Knowledge of LVI status may help to better risk-stratify patients and guide management strategies, and should be considered in future prognostic classification schemes and nomograms.

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