Article Abstract

Systematic review on the utility of magnetic resonance imaging for operative management and follow-up for primary sarcoma—lessons from extremity sarcomas

Authors: Zach Pennington, A. Karim Ahmed, Ethan Cottrill, Erick M. Westbroek, Matthew L. Goodwin, Daniel M. Sciubba


Primary sarcomas of the vertebral column affect roughly 5 in every million persons annually, of which half to one-third are malignant. Treatment of these lesions requires multimodal management, often employing attempts at en bloc resection of the lesion with negative margins. This may be facilitated using magnetic resonance imaging for preoperative margin planning, but current literature is lacking regarding the use of such imaging to accurately predict planned surgical margins. Here we review prior studies describing the use of magnetic resonance imaging for en bloc resection of sarcomas of the extremities to identify learning points for application to the treatment of spinal neoplasms. We conducted a systematic review of the PubMed and EMBASE literature. Included studies described the accuracy of MRI for preoperative evaluation of tumor margins, intraoperative guidance for en bloc resection, or post-operative evaluation of residual or recurrent disease. All included studies described patients treated for osseous or soft tissue sarcoma of the limbs. We found 1,705 unique references of which 27 met criteria for inclusion. Seven studies reported MR had an overall diagnostic accuracy of 93.6–96% for preoperative margin evaluation with non-contrast T1 most accurately reflecting true margins. In the nine articles reporting results of MR-guided resection, negative margins were achieved in 88.8–100% of cases with a closest margin of 2–4 mm. Eleven articles combined reported the accuracy of MR for residual disease or local recurrence, with a mean sensitivity and specificity of 71.7% and 79.3%, respectively for residual disease and 87.9% and 85.9%, respectively for local recurrence. The current literature for appendicular musculoskeletal sarcoma suggests that MR is highly accurate for defining tumor margins preoperatively, guiding osteotomy cuts intraoperatively, and documenting recurrence or residual disease. Further evidence is necessary to evaluate the degree to which it can accurately guide osteotomy planning for en bloc resection of vertebral primaries.

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