Increased survival of non low-grade and deep-seated soft tissue sarcoma after surgical management in high-volume hospitals: a nationwide study from the Netherlands

Melissa Vos*, Harriet G. T. Blaauwgeers, Vincent K. Y. Ho, Winan J. van Houdt, Jos A. van der Hage, Lukas B. Been, Johannes J. Bonenkamp, Marc H. A. Bemelmans, Thijs van Dalen, Rick L. Haas, Dirk J. Grunhagen, Cornelis Verhoef, Dutch Sarcoma Study Group (DSSG)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Diagnosing and treating soft tissue sarcomas (STSs) remains challenging, stressing the urgency for centralisation. This nationwide survey aimed to evaluate the centralisation of STS surgery and its effect on survival.

Methods: Patients operated for primary STS from 2006 to 2015 were queried from the Netherlands Cancer Registry. Hospitals in which STS surgery was performed were allocated into three categories: low-volume (1-9 resections per year), medium-volume (10-19 resections) or high-volume (>= 20 resections). Differences in tumour characteristics and outcome were calculated. A multivariable regression analysis was performed to adjust for case-mix.

Results: Of the 5282 identified patients, 42% was treated in low-volume hospitals, 7.7% in medium-volume hospitals and 51% in high-volume hospitals, with a significant trend over time towards treatment in a high-volume hospital (p <0.01). In high-volume hospitals, more often patients with non low-grade, large and deep-seated tumours were treated than in low-volume hospitals. For the whole group, there was no survival benefit for patients treated in high-volume hospitals, with 10-year net survival rates of 76% (low-volume), 68% (medium-volume) and 68% (high-volume). However, subgroup analysis for patients with non low-grade and deep-seated tumours did reveal a benefit from treatment in a high-volume hospitals with 10-year survival rates of 54% (high-volume), 49% (low-volume) and 42% (medium-volume) and a relative risk of 1.3 (high-volume versus low-volume, p = 0.03).

Conclusion: Centralisation of STS surgery has increased in the past decade. Surgery in a highvolume hospital improved survival of patients with non low-grade and deep-seated tumours, and therefore these patients should be referred to such a hospital. (C) 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-106
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • Soft tissue sarcoma
  • Centralisation
  • Survival
  • Surgery

Cite this