Incidence and survival of patients with soft tissue sarcomas – Analyses by histological subtype


Session type:

M. Francis1, G. Lawrence1, R. Grimer2, N. Athanasou3, J. Fairbairn4, S. Vernon5
1West Midlands Cancer Intelligence Unit, Birmingham, UK, 2Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK, 3Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology & Musculoskeletal Sciences, Oxford, UK, 4Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Nottingham, UK, 5Eastern Cancer Registration & Information Centre, Cambridge, UK


Soft tissue sarcomas are exceptionally rare malignancies accounting for approximately 1% of cancer diagnoses. The incidence and survival for patients with different types of sarcoma are well researched and documented in countries such as the USA and Scandinavia. However, these statistics have never been published based on the English cancer registration data. By identifying appropriate sarcoma morphology sub-groups, these figures can be made available within England to allow international comparisons to be made.


A literature review was undertaken in order to establish methodologies applied internationally for grouping morphology codes. The morphologies were then grouped into higher levels based on these analyses. The national cancer data repository (NCDR) contains the details for all malignancies diagnosed in England between 1985 and 2009. All sarcomas were extracted from the NCDR, and the incidence rates, age profiles, survival and the site of diagnosis were calculated for each sarcoma sub-group.


The morphology groupings proposed are similar to previous research undertaken within the United States and Austria, amongst others, although none of the grouping methodologies are entirely consistent with one another. The sub-groups proposed included dermatofibrosarcoma and Kaposi's sarcoma which were excluded from some of the international studies reviewed. Incidence and survival rates were calculated for 22 sub-groups of soft tissue sarcomas. Leiomyosarcoma was the most common form of soft tissue sarcoma identified, followed by Sarcoma NOS and liposarcoma. 5-year relative survival rates varied between 35% for both pleomorphic and alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma and 99% for dermatofibrosarcoma.


The sarcoma morphology sub-groups identified enabled the calculation of the incidence and survival statistics for patients diagnosed with different types of sarcoma as well as providing an insight into outcomes. They will allow international comparisons to be made, although caveats will undoubtedly exist between the different methodologies applied.