Interventional radiotherapy (brachytherapy) achieves very good long-term quality of life in children and adolescents with soft-tissue sarcoma

Anna Lotte Sütterlin, Martin Demmert, György Kovács, Alexander Claviez, Christian Schulz, Melchior Lauten*

*Corresponding author for this work


Background: Effective local therapy (surgery, radiation) and systemic multidrug chemotherapy are mandatory for curing childhood sarcoma. The standard radiation therapy for pediatric patients with soft-tissue sarcoma (STS) is external beam radiotherapy (EBRT). Because EBRT may cause long-term side effects with adverse effects on the patients’ health and quality of life (QoL), alternative strategies are required. Interventional radiotherapy (IRT; brachytherapy) is established as a standard treatment for several tumors in adulthood. Single-center series have reported low levels of late effects and improved QoL in survivors treated with IRT in childhood. However, IRT is still applied infrequently in pediatric patients. Methods: Thirty patients with STS were treated with IRT between 1992 and 2012 at the University Hospital Schleswig Holstein, Germany. Five patients were lost to follow-up, and 25 patients (mean age at time of data collection 24.8 years [range, 10.7-36.1]) could be analyzed focusing on overall survival and QoL (EORTC-C30 questionnaire). For more detailed information regarding general and health-specific questions, a separate questionnaire was developed. Results: Nineteen of 25 patients were alive 13.4 [1.6-25.2] years after first cancer disease, and the three-year overall survival was 76% (SE, 0.09). The score of QoL/global health status (76.2 [16.6-100]) in our patients outvalues the European (66.1) and equals the German (75.9) reference value. Conclusion: IRT is an effective treatment option for pediatric patients with localized STS. Its role among other radiation dose-sparing techniques such as proton beam therapy has to be defined in prospective studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere28464
JournalPediatric Blood and Cancer
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 01.10.2020

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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