What is postradiation sarcoma (PRS)?

Updated: Jul 01, 2020
  • Author: Nagarjun Rao, MD, FRCPath; Chief Editor: Omohodion (Odion) Binitie, MD  more...
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A late effect of ionizing radiation is the development of sarcoma within the field of irradiation, referred to as postradiation sarcoma (PRS). Ionizing radiation has had many varied uses in medicine. In early years, besides being employed in the treatment of a variety of malignancies, radiation was used to treat benign conditions, such as acne, fungal infections, eczema, and various bone diseases. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]

Advances in cancer treatment in recent years have included intensive multiagent chemotherapy and irradiation. [10] Despite significant medical use of radiation therapy, PRS is an uncommon tumor. The overall incidence of PRS is lower than 1% for patients with cancer who are treated with radiation and survive 5 years. [10] Although the implication for individual patients is significant, little doubt exists that the benefits of ionizing radiation therapy far outweigh the potential risks of developing sarcomas.

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