What is the role of radiotherapy in the treatment of soft-tissue angiosarcoma (AS)?

Updated: Sep 04, 2018
  • Author: Maria Belén Carsi, MD, PhD, FRCS; Chief Editor: Edwin Choy, MD, PhD  more...
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The use of irradiation in conjunction with surgery continues to evolve and results in 80% of local control and excellent functional and cosmetic outcome. [10] However, consider that 50% of angiosarcomas have distant metastases, and irradiation does not improve survival. Better definition of the extent of the disease with the use of MRI helps to further delineate the radiotherapy fields and decrease long-term morbidity. Intraoperative radiation, brachytherapy, or more external beam therapy can complement preoperative external beam radiotherapy.

The disadvantage of preoperative radiation is that a higher wound complication rate may delay surgery (1 wk of healing per 10 Gy of radiation delivered). The advantages of preoperative radiation are as follows:

  • Optimization for surgery

  • Smaller volume of external beam fields

  • Less hypoxic tissue

  • Potential to reduce the chance of intraoperative implantation

  • Potential improvement in local control in advanced tumors

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