Regional chemotherapy prevents amputation in advanced sarcom
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Chemotherapy directed to limbs with advanced soft tissue sarcoma preserved arms and legs that otherwise might have required amputation, according to a 22-year research study published in Journal of the American College of Surgeons. The innovative technique, known as regional chemotherapy with isolated limb infusion (ILI), salvaged limbs in 78% of cases.

“Conventionally, what people think of when they think about treating patients with advanced cancer is surgery, radiation therapy or systemic chemotherapy, John E. Mullinax, MD, surgical oncologist in the sarcoma department at Moffitt Cancer Center, told HemOnc Today. “Isolated limb infusion is a technique where you can isolate the chemotherapy just to the region with the disease and with extremities that works well. It is something that is not commonly done even though it is relatively straightforward.”

Used primarily for melanoma, ILI circulates melphalan and actinomycin D chemotherapy into the blood vessels of the affected areas of the arm or leg through arterial and venous catheters, with a tourniquet used to block the chemotherapy agents from circulating through the rest of the body. Researchers collected data from 77 patients with 17 different subtypes of sarcoma who underwent 84 ILIs at five different cancer institutions in the United States and Australia from 1994 to 2014. All patients faced amputation prior to their procedures.

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