Chemotherapy for sarcomas
Anti-cancer medications used for sarcomas
The anti-cancer medication most commonly used for sarcomas is doxorubicin.
- In soft tissue sarcomas, this molecule is sometimes combined with ifosfamide or dacarbazine.
- In osteosarcoma, it is combined with cisplatin and methotrexate.
- In Ewing sarcoma and sarcoma of the joints (chrondosarcoma), several other medications are combined with doxorubicin, such as cyclophosphamide or ifosfamide. Immunotherapy or targeted monoclonal antibodies may be combined with chemotherapy.
- Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) are now treated with a molecule known as imatinib, which pertains to targeted therapies.
Practical information about chemotherapy against sarcomas
Chemotherapy may be used as follows:
- Before surgery, to reduce the tumor
- After surgery, if the disease has led to metastases and to avoid relapse
To reduce the volume of the tumor before surgery, it is possible to administer chemotherapy via “isolated limb perfusion” with extracorporeal circulation. This technique involves isolating an arm or leg affected by a sarcoma from the blood flow, using a tourniquet and extracorporeal circulation. This allows the patient to receive higher doses of anti-cancer medications than with general administration.
The chemotherapy protocol is decided on by a medical team according to the type, grade and stage of the sarcoma, as well as to the patient’s state of health. It determines the medication(s) used as well as the doses, the administration method and the frequency of sessions.