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Autologous stem cell transplantation for soft tissue sarcoma: insufficient research into therapy
Date:12/8/2009

Due to a lack of suitable studies, it is unclear whether patients with soft tissue sarcoma can benefit from autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplantation. With this type of therapy, some of the patient's own (autologous) stem cells are removed at a convenient time and generally re-implanted after a course of high-dose chemotherapy. At present, there is neither indication nor proof of additional benefit compared to conventional chemotherapy. Owing to current gaps in knowledge, autologous stem cell transplantation for this disease should only be used within controlled trials at present. This is the conclusion of the final report of the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG), published on 25 November 2009.

Relatively rare type of cancer: 2,500 cases in Germany annually

Soft tissue sarcomas are malignant tumours whose tissue structure is similar to the soft tissues of the human body, particularly muscle, fat or supporting tissue. They often originate from these soft tissues. These tumours can appear anywhere in the body, with the lower extremities, i.e. legs, being the most frequently affected. This is a relatively rare type of cancer: the annual number of newly diagnosed cases in Germany is estimated at 2,500. Studies of patients with a tumour from the Ewing family of tumours were not included in the evaluation, as here the differentiation between soft tissue and bone tumours is not always clear-cut.

Often a soft tissue sarcoma first manifests itself as a painless ulcer. It may cause pain when, for instance, it presses on other organs, which in turn might restrict their functioning. The tumour becomes life-threatening when it spreads to other organs or forms metastases in other parts of the body ("high-risk patients").

Tumours frequently recur

Surgery is the standard treatment for patients with a localized soft tissue sarcoma, whereas patients with distant metastases generally u
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Contact: Dr. Anna-Sabine Ernst
info@iqwig.de
49-022-135-6850
Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care
Source:Eurekalert

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