Advertisement

New benchmarks to design clinical trials with advanced or metastatic liposarcoma or synovial sarcoma patients: An EORTC – Soft Tissue and Bone Sarcoma Group (STBSG) meta-analysis based on a literature review for soft-tissue sarcomas

Open AccessPublished:September 08, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2022.07.010

      Highlights

      • Update and recalibrate long-standing reference values for soft-tissue sarcomas.
      • Extension of previous novel meta-analysis for advanced/metastatic leiomyosarcoma.
      • Information acquired for 1030 liposarcoma and 348 synovial sarcoma patients.
      • Minimum values to target as per ESMO Magnitude of Clinical Benefit Scale.
      • Need to raise the bar in the design of future histology-tailored phase II trials.

      Abstract

      Background

      Recently, we performed a meta-analysis based on a literature review for STS trials (published 2003–2018, ≥10 adult patients) to update long-standing reference values for leiomyosarcomas. This work is extended for liposarcomas (LPS) and synovial sarcomas (SS).

      Materials and methods

      Study endpoints were progression-free survival rates (PFSRs) at 3 and 6 months. Trial-specific estimates were pooled per treatment line (first-line or pre-treated) with random effects meta-analyses. The choice of the therapeutic benefit to target in future trials was guided by the European Society for Medical Oncology Magnitude of Clinical Benefit Scale (ESMO-MCBS).

      Results

      Information was acquired for 1030 LPS patients (25 trials; 7 first-line, 17 pre-treated, 1 both) and 348 SS patients (13 trials; 3 first-line, 10 pre-treated). For LPS, the overall pooled first-line PFSRs were 69% (95%-CI 60–77%) and 56% (95%-CI 45–67%) at 3 and 6 months, respectively. These rates were 49% (95%-CI 40–57%)/28% (95%-CI 22–34%) for >1 lines. For SS, first-line PFSRs were 74% (95%-CI 58–86%)/56% (95%-CI 31–78%) at 3 and 6 months, and pre-treated rates were 45% (95%-CI 34–57%)/25% (95%-CI 16–36%). Following ESMO-MCBS guidelines, the minimum values to target are 79% and 69% for first-line LPS (82% and 69% for SS) at 3 and 6 months. For pre-treated LPS, recommended PFSRs at 3 and 6 months suggesting drug activity are 63% and 44% (60% and 41% for SS).

      Conclusions

      New benchmarks are proposed for advanced/metastatic LPS or SS to design future histology-specific phase II trials. More data are needed to provide definitive thresholds for the different LPS subtypes.

      Keywords

      1. Introduction

      Soft-tissue sarcomas (STS) are very heterogeneous rare mesenchymal malignancies that account for about 1% of all adult tumours. In general, over the years more than 100 histologic subtypes have been recognised with a widely varying presentation, sensitivity to treatment and long-term outcomes [
      • Gamboa A.C.
      • Gronchi A.
      • Cardona K.
      Soft-tissue sarcoma in adults: an update on the current state of histiotype-specific management in an era of personalized medicine.
      ]. The prognosis for advanced STS is poor with median overall survival (OS) now ranging from 12 to 18 months [
      • Frezza A.M.
      • Stacchiotti S.
      • Gronchi A.
      Systemic treatment in advanced soft tissue sarcoma: what is standard, what is new.
      ]. The most common site of metastasis is the lungs, but other (intraabdominal, bone) locations are not uncommon [
      • Gamboa A.C.
      • Gronchi A.
      • Cardona K.
      Soft-tissue sarcoma in adults: an update on the current state of histiotype-specific management in an era of personalized medicine.
      ,
      • Frezza A.M.
      • Stacchiotti S.
      • Gronchi A.
      Systemic treatment in advanced soft tissue sarcoma: what is standard, what is new.
      ,
      • Hoang N.T.
      • Acevedo L.A.
      • Mann M.J.
      • Tolani B.
      A review of soft-tissue sarcomas: translation of biological advances into treatment measures.
      ]. Systemic treatment represents the mainstay for the management of the locally advanced or metastatic disease. For first-line treatment of STS, doxorubicin alone or in combination with ifosfamide has been considered the most active drug (combination) for several decades [
      • Frezza A.M.
      • Stacchiotti S.
      • Gronchi A.
      Systemic treatment in advanced soft tissue sarcoma: what is standard, what is new.
      ]. After first-line drugs, subsequent treatments depend on subtype. Among the most used ones in second- and further-line are gemcitabine with/without docetaxel, trabectedin, pazopanib, and dacarbazine with/without gemcitabine which have been associated with a progression-free survival (PFS) benefit in doxorubicin-treated patients [
      • Smrke A.
      • Wang Y.
      • Simmons C.
      Update on systemic therapy for advanced soft-tissue sarcoma.
      ]. The combination of olaratumab + doxorubicin appeared to show a survival benefit compared with doxorubicin alone in a randomised phase II study [
      • Tap W.D.
      • Jones R.L.
      • Van Tine B.A.
      • Chmielowski B.
      • Elias A.D.
      • Adkins D.
      • et al.
      Olaratumab and doxorubicin versus doxorubicin alone for treatment of soft-tissue sarcoma: an open-label phase 1b and randomised phase 2 trial.
      ], but eribulin is the only drug to have shown a survival benefit, although curiously no benefit in PFS.
      Liposarcomas (LPS), one of the most common STS types (15–20% of all STS), are complex and diverse neoplasms [
      • Chamberlain F.
      • Benson C.
      • Thway K.
      • Huang P.
      • Jones R.L.
      • Gennatas S.
      Pharmacotherapy for liposarcoma: current and emerging synthetic treatments.
      ]. These tumours can be separated into three biological subtypes based on specific genetic alterations: well-differentiated/dedifferentiated LPS that is the most common (∼70%), myxoid LPS (∼20%), and pleomorphic LPS (∼5%) which has the worst prognosis [
      • Yang L.
      • Chen S.
      • Luo P.
      • Yan W.
      • Wang C.
      Liposarcoma: advances in cellular and molecular genetics alterations and corresponding clinical treatment.
      ,
      • Keung E.Z.
      • Somaiah N.
      Overview of liposarcomas and their genomic landscape.
      ]. Currently, available systemic therapies include anthracycline-based treatment for first-line typically with doxorubicin (with/without ifosfamide), and trabectedin or eribulin after anthracycline failure.
      A somewhat less common STS type with varying clinical behaviour and response to treatment is synovial sarcoma (SS; 5–10% of STS) [
      • Aytekin M.N.
      • Öztürk R.
      • Amer K.
      • Yapar A.
      Epidemiology, incidence, and survival of synovial sarcoma subtypes: SEER database analysis.
      ,
      • Gazendam A.M.
      • Popovic S.
      • Munir S.
      • Parasu N.
      • Wilson D.
      • Ghert M.
      Synovial sarcoma: a clinical review.
      ]. Patients with SS have a relatively young age at diagnosis (mean 39 years) [
      • Gazendam A.M.
      • Popovic S.
      • Munir S.
      • Parasu N.
      • Wilson D.
      • Ghert M.
      Synovial sarcoma: a clinical review.
      ]. These tumours are either monophasic (pure sarcomas), biphasic (epithelioid and sarcomatous components combined), or poorly differentiated and have a unique biology among STS characterised by SYT-SSX1, 2 or 4 translocations [
      • Stacchiotti S.
      • Van Tine B.A.
      Synovial sarcoma: current concepts and future perspectives.
      ]. In the advanced/metastatic setting, SS usually shows a higher chemosensitivity compared to other STS histotypes. SS is commonly treated with anthracyclines and/or ifosfamide in first-line, while high-dose continuous infusion ifosfamide, pazopanib, and trabectedin represent the most used agents in pre-treated patients [
      • Gazendam A.M.
      • Popovic S.
      • Munir S.
      • Parasu N.
      • Wilson D.
      • Ghert M.
      Synovial sarcoma: a clinical review.
      ,
      • Stacchiotti S.
      • Van Tine B.A.
      Synovial sarcoma: current concepts and future perspectives.
      ].
      In 2002, Van Glabbeke et al. [
      • Van Glabbeke M.
      • Verweij J.
      • Judson I.
      • Nielsen O.S.
      Progression-free rate as the principal end-point for phase II trials in soft-tissue sarcomas.
      ] published a pooled analysis with independent patient data calculating progression-free rates for first-line or pre-treated STS patients who had been included in phase II trials of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) – Soft Tissue and Bone Sarcoma Group (STBSG) database. Efficacy thresholds were estimated in order to make a distinction between active and inactive antineoplastic agents. In first-line, a 6-month rate of 30–56% was considered as a reference value for drug activity depending on histology. For the pre-treated population, a 3-month rate ≥40% suggested drug activity and ≤20% inactivity for any histologic subtype. These values have been applied extensively (>420 citations) to design new studies for all STS.
      In a previous study by our group (Kantidakis et al., 2021) [
      • Kantidakis G.
      • Litière S.
      • Neven A.
      • Vinches M.
      • Judson I.
      • Schöffski P.
      • et al.
      Efficacy thresholds for clinical trials with advanced or metastatic leiomyosarcoma patients: a European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Soft Tissue and Bone Sarcoma Group meta-analysis based on a literature review for soft-tissue sarcoma.
      ], we collected summary estimates from an extensive literature review of phase II, III, or IV studies published between 2003 and 2018 on advanced or metastatic STS to provide an update for leiomyosarcomas (LMS) – the most frequently appearing histologic type in these publications. The primary endpoint was defined as progression-free survival rate at 3 or 6 months (PFSR; counting any death as an event) which is nowadays a preferred and more popular endpoint than progression-free rate (censoring deaths not related to disease). Drugs were classified as recommended or not based on the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2018 guidelines [
      • Casali P.G.
      • Abecassis N.
      • Aro H.T.
      • Bauer S.
      • Biagini R.
      • Bielack S.
      • et al.
      Soft tissue and visceral sarcomas: ESMO-EURACAN Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up.
      ]. Since the differences between recommended and non-recommended agents were not significant, the overall pooled PFSR was used as a reference. The ESMO Magnitude of Clinical Benefit Scale (ESMO-MCBS) [
      • Cherny N.I.
      • Dafni U.
      • Bogaerts J.
      • Latino N.J.
      • Pentheroudakis G.
      • Douillard J.Y.
      • et al.
      ESMO-magnitude of clinical benefit scale version 1.1.
      ] pinpointed the treatment effects to target for a clinically relevant benefit in future phase II trials. For first-line LMS, a PFSR at 6 months ≥70%, and for pre-treated population, a 3-month PFSR ≥62% or at 6-month PFSR ≥44% would suggest drug activity.
      Historically, the majority of STS trials have been designed with a one-size-fits-all principle mixing several histologic types. However, our recent study is in accordance with a trend towards histology-specific tailored research [
      • Gamboa A.C.
      • Gronchi A.
      • Cardona K.
      Soft-tissue sarcoma in adults: an update on the current state of histiotype-specific management in an era of personalized medicine.
      ,
      • Hoang N.T.
      • Acevedo L.A.
      • Mann M.J.
      • Tolani B.
      A review of soft-tissue sarcomas: translation of biological advances into treatment measures.
      ]. Importantly, the 2002 efficacy thresholds should be updated and recalibrated for prevalent advanced/metastatic STS types to reflect modern clinical practice, as future agents should perform better than currently available standards of care. Here, the aim is to extend our 2021 study for advanced/metastatic LPS or SS, the second and third most common types in our literature review (2003–2018), which differ from real-life incidence [
      • de Pinieux G.
      • Karanian M.
      • Le Loarer F.
      • Le Guellec S.
      • Chabaud S.
      • Terrier P.
      • et al.
      Nationwide incidence of sarcomas and connective tissue tumors of intermediate malignancy over four years using an expert pathology review network.
      ], to provide benchmarks to design new phase II studies with PFSR as the primary endpoint.

      2. Methods

      2.1 Search strategy and selection criteria for the literature review

      The literature review and meta-analyses were conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) [
      • Liberati A.
      • Altman D.G.
      • Tetzlaff J.
      • Mulrow C.
      • Gøtzsche P.C.
      • Ioannidis J.P.A.
      • et al.
      The PRISMA statement for reporting systematic reviews and meta-analyses of studies that evaluate health care interventions: explanation and elaboration.
      ]. An electronic search was performed in PubMed for phase II, III, or IV clinical trials with advanced/metastatic or non-operable STS patients. Studies were published in English between January 1, 2003 and December 31, 2018. Eligible study designs included non-randomised trials, randomised controlled trials, and prospective real-life studies. Study domain included first, second, or later line systemic therapy. Papers with retrospective clinical data, case-control studies, early phase trials, pooled analyses, and reports were excluded as well as those devoted to bone sarcomas, GIST, or paediatric population.
      A two-step procedure was performed by three authors (G.K., A.N., and M.V.) to construct the database. More information about the trial selection can be found in Ref. [
      • Kantidakis G.
      • Litière S.
      • Neven A.
      • Vinches M.
      • Judson I.
      • Schöffski P.
      • et al.
      Efficacy thresholds for clinical trials with advanced or metastatic leiomyosarcoma patients: a European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Soft Tissue and Bone Sarcoma Group meta-analysis based on a literature review for soft-tissue sarcoma.
      ] and in Appendix pp. 3–4.

      2.2 Extracting information for the meta-analyses

      For this work, the focus was on the second and third most prevalent STS in the database; LPS and SS. Two meta-analysis databases were designed with a row per treatment arm and treatment line (first-line versus pre-treated population). For each of them, G.K. extracted the number of evaluable LPS or SS patients for PFSR (those included in the efficacy dataset based on the statistical plan's criteria), the PFSR at 3 and 6 months together with the 95% confidence intervals (95%-CIs), and the year of study activation. Placebo/best supportive care arms, arms with <10 patients, mixed treatment lines, or studies activated before 2000 were removed from the database. When summary PFS estimates (at 3 and 6 months) could not be retrieved from a publication, they were requested from first authors and/or study sponsors.

      2.3 Statistical methods

      In both databases (for LPS and SS), a random-effects model was employed to estimate the overall PFSR at 3 and 6 months per line of treatment (first-line versus pre-treated). The DerSimonian and Laird method was used to estimate the between-study variance in clinical trials [
      • Dersimonian R.
      • Laird N.
      Meta-analysis in clinical trials.
      ,
      • Dersimonian R.
      • Laird N.
      Meta-analysis in clinical trials revisited.
      ]. The inverse variance method was used to pool treatment-specific PFS estimates (more weight is given to larger studies). For each treatment arm, the number of cases (patients alive and progression-free) was approximated based on the total number of evaluable patients and the recorded PFS estimate; the equivalent PFS proportion is defined as cases/evaluable patients. The calculated number of cases was employed under a binomial distribution to estimate the variance (unknown quantity) for each drug or combination and the 95%-CIs [
      • Feller W.
      On the normal approximation to the binomial distribution.
      ,
      • Wang N.
      How to conduct a meta-analysis of proportions in R: a comprehensive tutorial conducting meta-analyses of proportions in R.
      ]. The treatment-specific PFS estimates are presented on forest plots. The overall heterogeneity between studies is provided by the I2 statistic (variability between the study-specific effect sizes which cannot be explained by random variation) [
      • Borenstein M.
      • Hedges L.V.
      • Higgins J.P.T.
      • Rothstein H.R.
      Introduction to meta-analysis.
      ].
      The ESMO 2021 guidelines [
      • Gronchi A.
      • Miah A.B.
      • Dei Tos A.P.
      • Abecassis N.
      • Bajpai J.
      • Bauer S.
      • et al.
      Soft tissue and visceral sarcomas: ESMO–EURACAN–GENTURIS Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up.
      ] were used to classify each drug (or drug combination) as recommended treatment (R-T) or non-recommended treatment (NR-T) per treatment line and histologic subtype. The difference in PFS between the two groups of drugs (R-T versus NR-T) was formally compared using meta-regression (subgroup meta-analysis) with a chi-square statistic. The effect of other predictors on PFS (phase of the trial, study design, year of activation, sample size) was also tested in univariate models to address if they can explain part of the residual heterogeneity. Funnel plots and formal regression tests were used to assess the risk of publication bias [
      • Peters J.L.
      • Sutton A.J.
      • Jones D.R.
      • Abrams K.R.
      • Rushton L.
      Contour-enhanced meta-analysis funnel plots help distinguish publication bias from other causes of asymmetry.
      ,
      • Egger M.
      • Smith G.D.
      • Schneider M.
      • Minder C.
      Bias in meta-analysis detected by a simple, graphical test measures of funnel plot asymmetry.
      ,
      • Begg C.B.
      • Mazumdar M.
      Operating characteristics of a rank correlation test for publication bias.
      ]. Potentially influential studies and studies contributing to heterogeneity were detected with Baujat plots [
      • Baujat B.
      • Mahé C.
      • Pignon J.P.
      • Hill C.
      A graphical method for exploring heterogeneity in meta-analyses: application to a meta-analysis of 65 trials.
      ]. The choice of the therapeutic benefit to target in future trials was guided by the ESMO-MCBS [
      • Cherny N.I.
      • Dafni U.
      • Bogaerts J.
      • Latino N.J.
      • Pentheroudakis G.
      • Douillard J.Y.
      • et al.
      ESMO-magnitude of clinical benefit scale version 1.1.
      ]. Analyses were performed using packages metafor and meta in R version 4.1.2 [
      • Viechtbauer W.
      Conducting meta-analyses in R with the metafor package.
      ,
      • Swarzer G.
      meta: an R package for meta-analysis.
      ]. Reported p-values are two-sided. Further methodological details can be found in Appendix pp. 12–14.

      3. Results

      3.1 Clinical trials included

      The study selection is provided in Fig. 1. In total, 38 studies were potentially relevant for the meta-analyses (35 for LPS, 16 for SS): 25 trials were included in the LPS meta-analyses [
      • Chugh R.
      • Wathen J.K.
      • Maki R.G.
      • Benjamin R.S.
      • Patel S.R.
      • Myers P.A.
      • et al.
      Phase II multicenter trial of imatinib in 10 histologic subtypes of sarcoma using a Bayesian hierarchical statistical model.
      ,
      • Maurel J.
      • López-Pousa A.
      • De Las Peñas R.
      • Fra J.
      • Martín J.
      • Cruz J.
      • et al.
      Efficacy of sequential high-dose doxorubicin and ifosfamide compared with standard-dose doxorubicin in patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma: an open-label randomized phase II study of the Spanish group for research on sarcomas.
      ,
      • Judson I.
      • Verweij J.
      • Gelderblom H.
      • Hartmann J.T.
      • Schöffski P.
      • Blay J.Y.
      • et al.
      Doxorubicin alone versus intensified doxorubicin plus ifosfamide for first-line treatment of advanced or metastatic soft-tissue sarcoma: a randomised controlled phase 3 trial.
      ,
      • Bui-Nguyen B.
      • Butrynski J.E.
      • Penel N.
      • Blay J.Y.
      • Isambert N.
      • Milhem M.
      • et al.
      A phase IIb multicentre study comparing the efficacy of trabectedin to doxorubicin in patients with advanced or metastatic untreated soft tissue sarcoma: the TRUSTS trial.
      ,
      • Kawai A.
      • Araki N.
      • Sugiura H.
      • Ueda T.
      • Yonemoto T.
      • Takahashi M.
      • et al.
      Trabectedin monotherapy after standard chemotherapy versus best supportive care in patients with advanced, translocation-related sarcoma: a randomised, open-label, phase 2 study.
      ,
      • Toulmonde M.
      • Le Cesne A.
      • Piperno-Neumann S.
      • Penel N.
      • Chevreau C.
      • Duffaud F.
      • et al.
      Aplidin in patients with advanced dedifferentiated liposarcomas: a French Sarcoma Group Single-Arm Phase II study.
      ,
      • Demetri G.D.
      • Von Mehren M.
      • Jones R.L.
      • Hensley M.L.
      • Schuetze S.M.
      • Staddon A.
      • et al.
      Efficacy and safety of trabectedin or dacarbazine for metastatic liposarcoma or leiomyosarcoma after failure of conventional chemotherapy: results of a phase III randomized multicenter clinical trial.
      ,
      • Dickson M.A.
      • Schwartz G.K.
      • Louise Keohan M.
      • D'Angelo S.P.
      • Gounder M.M.
      • Chi P.
      • et al.
      Phase 2 trial of the CDK4 inhibitor palbociclib (PD0332991) at 125 mg dose in well-differentiated or dedifferentiated liposarcoma.
      ,
      • Mir O.
      • Brodowicz T.
      • Italiano A.
      • Wallet J.
      • Blay J.Y.
      • Bertucci F.
      • et al.
      Safety and efficacy of regorafenib in patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma (REGOSARC): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 2 trial.
      ,
      • Schöffski P.
      • Chawla S.
      • Maki R.G.
      • Italiano A.
      • Gelderblom H.
      • Choy E.
      • et al.
      Eribulin versus dacarbazine in previously treated patients with advanced liposarcoma or leiomyosarcoma: a randomised, open-label, multicentre, phase 3 trial.
      ,
      • Schuetze S.M.
      • Wathen J.K.
      • Lucas D.R.
      • Choy E.
      • Samuels B.L.
      • Staddon A.P.
      • et al.
      SARC009: phase 2 study of dasatinib in patients with previously treated, high-grade, advanced sarcoma.
      ,
      • Buonadonna A.
      • Benson C.
      • Casanova J.
      • Kasper B.
      • López Pousa A.
      • Mazzeo F.
      • et al.
      A noninterventional, multicenter, prospective phase IV study of trabectedin in patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma.
      ,
      • Sleijfer S.
      • Ray-Coquard I.
      • Papai Z.
      • Le Cesne A.
      • Scurr M.
      • Schöffski P.
      • et al.
      Pazopanib, a multikinase angiogenesis inhibitor, in patients with relapsed or refractory advanced soft tissue sarcoma: a phase II study from the European organisation for research and treatment of cancer-soft tissue and bone sarcoma group (EORTC Study 62043).
      ,
      • Kawai A.
      • Araki N.
      • Naito Y.
      • Ozaki T.
      • Sugiura H.
      • Yazawa Y.
      • et al.
      Phase 2 study of eribulin in patients with previously treated advanced or metastatic soft tissue sarcoma.
      ,
      • Samuels B.L.
      • Chawla S.P.
      • Somaiah N.
      • Staddon A.P.
      • Skubitz K.M.
      • Milhem M.M.
      • et al.
      Results of a prospective phase 2 study of pazopanib in patients with advanced intermediate-grade or high-grade liposarcoma.
      ,
      • Seddon B.
      • Strauss S.J.
      • Whelan J.
      • Leahy M.
      • Woll P.J.
      • Cowie F.
      • et al.
      Gemcitabine and docetaxel versus doxorubicin as first-line treatment in previously untreated advanced unresectable or metastatic soft-tissue sarcomas (GeDDiS): a randomised controlled phase 3 trial.
      ,
      • Tap W.D.
      • Papai Z.
      • Van Tine B.A.
      • Attia S.
      • Ganjoo K.N.
      • Jones R.L.
      • et al.
      Doxorubicin plus evofosfamide versus doxorubicin alone in locally advanced, unresectable or metastatic soft-tissue sarcoma (TH CR-406/SARC021): an international, multicentre, open-label, randomised phase 3 trial.
      ,
      • Tawbi H.A.
      • Burgess M.
      • Bolejack V.
      • Van Tine B.A.
      • Schuetze S.M.
      • Hu J.
      • et al.
      Pembrolizumab in advanced soft-tissue sarcoma and bone sarcoma (SARC028): a multicentre, two-cohort, single-arm, open-label, phase 2 trial.
      ,
      • Schöffski P.
      • Ray-Coquard I.L.
      • Cioffi A.
      • Bui N. Bin
      • Bauer S.
      • Hartmann J.T.
      • et al.
      Activity of eribulin mesylate in patients with soft-tissue sarcoma: a phase 2 study in four independent histological subtypes.
      ,
      • Chawla S.P.
      • Staddon A.P.
      • Baker L.H.
      • Schuetze S.M.
      • Tolcher A.W.
      • D'Amato G.Z.
      • et al.
      Phase II study of the mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitor ridaforolimus in patients with advanced bone and soft tissue sarcomas.
      ,
      • Cassier P.A.
      • Lefranc A.
      • Amela E.Y.
      • Chevreau C.
      • Bui B.N.
      • Lecesne A.
      • et al.
      A phase II trial of panobinostat in patients with advanced pretreated soft tissue sarcoma. A study from the French Sarcoma Group.
      ,
      • Dickson M.A.
      • Tap W.D.
      • Keohan M.L.
      • D'Angelo S.P.
      • Gounder M.M.
      • Antonescu C.R.
      • et al.
      Phase II trial of the CDK4 inhibitor PD0332991 in patients with advanced CDK4-amplified well-differentiated or dedifferentiated liposarcoma.
      ,
      • Schöffski P.
      • Adkins D.
      • Blay J.Y.
      • Gil T.
      • Elias A.D.
      • Rutkowski P.
      • et al.
      An open-label, phase 2 study evaluating the efficacy and safety of the anti-IGF-1R antibody cixutumumab in patients with previously treated advanced or metastatic soft-tissue sarcoma or Ewing family of tumours.
      ,
      • Blay J.Y.
      • Leahy M.G.
      • Nguyen B.B.
      • Patel S.R.
      • Hohenberger P.
      • Santoro A.
      • et al.
      Randomised phase III trial of trabectedin versus doxorubicin-based chemotherapy as first-line therapy in translocation-related sarcomas.
      ,
      • Gelderblom H.
      • Blay J.Y.
      • Seddon B.M.
      • Leahy M.
      • Ray-Coquard I.
      • Sleijfer S.
      • et al.
      Brostallicin versus doxorubicin as first-line chemotherapy in patients with advanced or metastatic soft tissue sarcoma: an European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Soft Tissue and Bone Sarcoma Group randomised phase II and pharmacogenetic study.
      ] and 13 trials [
      • Chugh R.
      • Wathen J.K.
      • Maki R.G.
      • Benjamin R.S.
      • Patel S.R.
      • Myers P.A.
      • et al.
      Phase II multicenter trial of imatinib in 10 histologic subtypes of sarcoma using a Bayesian hierarchical statistical model.
      ,
      • Judson I.
      • Verweij J.
      • Gelderblom H.
      • Hartmann J.T.
      • Schöffski P.
      • Blay J.Y.
      • et al.
      Doxorubicin alone versus intensified doxorubicin plus ifosfamide for first-line treatment of advanced or metastatic soft-tissue sarcoma: a randomised controlled phase 3 trial.
      ,
      • Mir O.
      • Brodowicz T.
      • Italiano A.
      • Wallet J.
      • Blay J.Y.
      • Bertucci F.
      • et al.
      Safety and efficacy of regorafenib in patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma (REGOSARC): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 2 trial.
      ,
      • Buonadonna A.
      • Benson C.
      • Casanova J.
      • Kasper B.
      • López Pousa A.
      • Mazzeo F.
      • et al.
      A noninterventional, multicenter, prospective phase IV study of trabectedin in patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma.
      ,
      • Sleijfer S.
      • Ray-Coquard I.
      • Papai Z.
      • Le Cesne A.
      • Scurr M.
      • Schöffski P.
      • et al.
      Pazopanib, a multikinase angiogenesis inhibitor, in patients with relapsed or refractory advanced soft tissue sarcoma: a phase II study from the European organisation for research and treatment of cancer-soft tissue and bone sarcoma group (EORTC Study 62043).
      ,
      • Tap W.D.
      • Papai Z.
      • Van Tine B.A.
      • Attia S.
      • Ganjoo K.N.
      • Jones R.L.
      • et al.
      Doxorubicin plus evofosfamide versus doxorubicin alone in locally advanced, unresectable or metastatic soft-tissue sarcoma (TH CR-406/SARC021): an international, multicentre, open-label, randomised phase 3 trial.
      ,
      • Tawbi H.A.
      • Burgess M.
      • Bolejack V.
      • Van Tine B.A.
      • Schuetze S.M.
      • Hu J.
      • et al.
      Pembrolizumab in advanced soft-tissue sarcoma and bone sarcoma (SARC028): a multicentre, two-cohort, single-arm, open-label, phase 2 trial.
      ,
      • Schöffski P.
      • Ray-Coquard I.L.
      • Cioffi A.
      • Bui N. Bin
      • Bauer S.
      • Hartmann J.T.
      • et al.
      Activity of eribulin mesylate in patients with soft-tissue sarcoma: a phase 2 study in four independent histological subtypes.
      ,
      • Schöffski P.
      • Adkins D.
      • Blay J.Y.
      • Gil T.
      • Elias A.D.
      • Rutkowski P.
      • et al.
      An open-label, phase 2 study evaluating the efficacy and safety of the anti-IGF-1R antibody cixutumumab in patients with previously treated advanced or metastatic soft-tissue sarcoma or Ewing family of tumours.
      ,
      • Blay J.Y.
      • Leahy M.G.
      • Nguyen B.B.
      • Patel S.R.
      • Hohenberger P.
      • Santoro A.
      • et al.
      Randomised phase III trial of trabectedin versus doxorubicin-based chemotherapy as first-line therapy in translocation-related sarcomas.
      ,
      • Ray-Coquard I.
      • Le Cesne A.
      • Whelan J.S.
      • Schoffski P.
      • Bui B.N.
      • Verweij J.
      • et al.
      A phase II study of gefitinib for patients with advanced HER-1 expressing synovial sarcoma refractory to doxorubicin-containing regimens.
      ,
      • van der Graaf W.T.A.
      • Blay J.Y.
      • Chawla S.P.
      • Kim D.W.
      • Bui-Nguyen B.
      • Casali P.G.
      • et al.
      Pazopanib for metastatic soft-tissue sarcoma (PALETTE): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 trial.
      ,
      • Robbins P.F.
      • Kassim S.H.
      • Tran T.L.N.
      • Crystal J.S.
      • Morgan R.A.
      • Feldman S.A.
      • et al.
      A pilot trial using lymphocytes genetically engineered with an NY-ESO-1-reactive T-cell receptor: long-term follow-up and correlates with response.
      ] in the SS meta-analyses.
      Fig. 1
      Fig. 1Study selection. There were 38 potentially relevant studies for LPS or SS patients in the EORTC databases; 35 for LPS and 16 for SS. A total of 13 of these trials included LPS and SS patients, whereas 3 trials included SS patients only. Collecting extra information (PFS estimates at 3–6 months) was of paramount importance because of the very limited data availability before the enrichment of the databases by the sponsors (PFS estimates could only be recovered by the publications for two studies with LPS, and one study with SS patients).

      3.2 Characteristics of trials

      A total of 1030 patients were evaluable for the LPS meta-analysis (range 10–93 patients per trial, Table 1) and 348 for the SS meta-analysis (range 10–46, Table 1). In first-line, the most common regimens were doxorubicin alone or in combination with ifosfamide (eight times) for LPS and doxorubicin monotherapy or in combination with evofosfamide or ifosfamide (four times) for SS. In pre-treated population, eribulin and trabectedin were the most common drugs for LPS (three times) and pazopanib for SS (two times).
      Table 1Main characteristics of all studies included in the LPS or SS meta-analyses. Studies in the SS database are presented in shade. Treatments were classified as recommended (yes or no) according to ESMO 2021 guidelines [
      • Gronchi A.
      • Miah A.B.
      • Dei Tos A.P.
      • Abecassis N.
      • Bajpai J.
      • Bauer S.
      • et al.
      Soft tissue and visceral sarcomas: ESMO–EURACAN–GENTURIS Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up.
      ]. Study period = period of first to last patient accrual. Evaluable patients were those who satisfied the study's statistical plan criteria for inclusion in efficacy datasets. Trabectedin 24h = trabectedin 24-h infusion treatment schedule. The 3-h infusion treatment arm was excluded from the LPS meta-analysis due to limited number of patients (n = 6 < 10). The Gelderblom study (2014) [
      • Gelderblom H.
      • Blay J.Y.
      • Seddon B.M.
      • Leahy M.
      • Ray-Coquard I.
      • Sleijfer S.
      • et al.
      Brostallicin versus doxorubicin as first-line chemotherapy in patients with advanced or metastatic soft tissue sarcoma: an European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Soft Tissue and Bone Sarcoma Group randomised phase II and pharmacogenetic study.
      ] contained two treatment arms: doxorubicin and brostallicin. The doxorubicin arm was excluded from the LPS meta-analysis because it did not reach the predetermined number of patients (n = 9 < 10). In the Blay study (2014) [
      • Blay J.Y.
      • Leahy M.G.
      • Nguyen B.B.
      • Patel S.R.
      • Hohenberger P.
      • Santoro A.
      • et al.
      Randomised phase III trial of trabectedin versus doxorubicin-based chemotherapy as first-line therapy in translocation-related sarcomas.
      ], the control arm: doxorubicin + ifosfamide was removed from SS meta-analysis as it did not reach the required sample size (n = 9 < 10). Placebo/best supportive care arms were also not included (Mir et al. (2016) [
      • Mir O.
      • Brodowicz T.
      • Italiano A.
      • Wallet J.
      • Blay J.Y.
      • Bertucci F.
      • et al.
      Safety and efficacy of regorafenib in patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma (REGOSARC): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 2 trial.
      ], Kawai et al. (2015) [
      • Kawai A.
      • Araki N.
      • Sugiura H.
      • Ueda T.
      • Yonemoto T.
      • Takahashi M.
      • et al.
      Trabectedin monotherapy after standard chemotherapy versus best supportive care in patients with advanced, translocation-related sarcoma: a randomised, open-label, phase 2 study.
      ], van der Graaf et al. (2012) [
      • van der Graaf W.T.A.
      • Blay J.Y.
      • Chawla S.P.
      • Kim D.W.
      • Bui-Nguyen B.
      • Casali P.G.
      • et al.
      Pazopanib for metastatic soft-tissue sarcoma (PALETTE): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 trial.
      ]).
      First author (year of publication)Study periodStudy typePhaseTotal patients registeredHistologic typeDrug or drug combinationTreatment lineRecommendedEvaluable patients analysed for PFS (%)
      Ray-Coquard et al. (2008) [
      • Ray-Coquard I.
      • Le Cesne A.
      • Whelan J.S.
      • Schoffski P.
      • Bui B.N.
      • Verweij J.
      • et al.
      A phase II study of gefitinib for patients with advanced HER-1 expressing synovial sarcoma refractory to doxorubicin-containing regimens.
      ]
      2002–2005Non-randomised248SSGefitinib2+No46 (95.83%)
      Chugh et al. (2009) [
      • Chugh R.
      • Wathen J.K.
      • Maki R.G.
      • Benjamin R.S.
      • Patel S.R.
      • Myers P.A.
      • et al.
      Phase II multicenter trial of imatinib in 10 histologic subtypes of sarcoma using a Bayesian hierarchical statistical model.
      ]
      2001–2005Non-randomised2185LPSImatinib2+No28 (15.14%)
      SSImatinib2+No21 (11.35%)
      Maurel et al. (2009) [
      • Maurel J.
      • López-Pousa A.
      • De Las Peñas R.
      • Fra J.
      • Martín J.
      • Cruz J.
      • et al.
      Efficacy of sequential high-dose doxorubicin and ifosfamide compared with standard-dose doxorubicin in patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma: an open-label randomized phase II study of the Spanish group for research on sarcomas.
      ]
      2003–2007Randomised2132LPSDoxorubicin1Yes14 (10.61%)
      LPSDoxorubicin + ifosfamide1Yes10 (7.58%)
      Sleijfer et al. (2009) [
      • Sleijfer S.
      • Ray-Coquard I.
      • Papai Z.
      • Le Cesne A.
      • Scurr M.
      • Schöffski P.
      • et al.
      Pazopanib, a multikinase angiogenesis inhibitor, in patients with relapsed or refractory advanced soft tissue sarcoma: a phase II study from the European organisation for research and treatment of cancer-soft tissue and bone sarcoma group (EORTC Study 62043).
      ]
      2005–2007Non-randomised2142LPSPazopanib2+No19 (13.38%)
      SSPazopanib2+Yes37 (26.06%)
      Schöffski et al. (2011) [
      • Schöffski P.
      • Ray-Coquard I.L.
      • Cioffi A.
      • Bui N. Bin
      • Bauer S.
      • Hartmann J.T.
      • et al.
      Activity of eribulin mesylate in patients with soft-tissue sarcoma: a phase 2 study in four independent histological subtypes.
      ]
      2007–2009Non-randomised2128LPSEribulin2+Yes38 (29.69%)
      SSEribulin2+No27 (21.09%)
      Chawla et al. (2012) [
      • Chawla S.P.
      • Staddon A.P.
      • Baker L.H.
      • Schuetze S.M.
      • Tolcher A.W.
      • D'Amato G.Z.
      • et al.
      Phase II study of the mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitor ridaforolimus in patients with advanced bone and soft tissue sarcomas.
      ]
      2004–2005Non-randomised2216LPSRidaforolimus2+No44 (20.37%)
      van der Graaf et al. (2012) [
      • van der Graaf W.T.A.
      • Blay J.Y.
      • Chawla S.P.
      • Kim D.W.
      • Bui-Nguyen B.
      • Casali P.G.
      • et al.
      Pazopanib for metastatic soft-tissue sarcoma (PALETTE): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 trial.
      ]
      2008–2010Randomised3372SSPazopanib2+Yes29 (7.80%)
      Cassier et al. (2013) [
      • Cassier P.A.
      • Lefranc A.
      • Amela E.Y.
      • Chevreau C.
      • Bui B.N.
      • Lecesne A.
      • et al.
      A phase II trial of panobinostat in patients with advanced pretreated soft tissue sarcoma. A study from the French Sarcoma Group.
      ]
      2010Non-randomised247LPSPanobinostat2+No11 (23.40%)
      Dickson et al. (2013) [
      • Dickson M.A.
      • Tap W.D.
      • Keohan M.L.
      • D'Angelo S.P.
      • Gounder M.M.
      • Antonescu C.R.
      • et al.
      Phase II trial of the CDK4 inhibitor PD0332991 in patients with advanced CDK4-amplified well-differentiated or dedifferentiated liposarcoma.
      ]
      2010–2011Non-randomised230LPSPalbociclib2+No29 (96.67%)
      Schöffski et al. (2013) [
      • Schöffski P.
      • Adkins D.
      • Blay J.Y.
      • Gil T.
      • Elias A.D.
      • Rutkowski P.
      • et al.
      An open-label, phase 2 study evaluating the efficacy and safety of the anti-IGF-1R antibody cixutumumab in patients with previously treated advanced or metastatic soft-tissue sarcoma or Ewing family of tumours.
      ]
      2008–2012Non-randomised2113LPSCixutumumab2+No37 (32.74%)
      SSCixutumumab2+No17 (15.04%)
      Blay et al. (2014) [
      • Blay J.Y.
      • Leahy M.G.
      • Nguyen B.B.
      • Patel S.R.
      • Hohenberger P.
      • Santoro A.
      • et al.
      Randomised phase III trial of trabectedin versus doxorubicin-based chemotherapy as first-line therapy in translocation-related sarcomas.
      ]
      2008–2012Randomised3121LPSDoxorubicin + ifosfamide1Yes17 (14.05%)
      LPSTrabectedin1No23 (19.01%)
      SSTrabectedin1No15 (12.40%)
      Gelderblom et al. (2014) [
      • Gelderblom H.
      • Blay J.Y.
      • Seddon B.M.
      • Leahy M.
      • Ray-Coquard I.
      • Sleijfer S.
      • et al.
      Brostallicin versus doxorubicin as first-line chemotherapy in patients with advanced or metastatic soft tissue sarcoma: an European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Soft Tissue and Bone Sarcoma Group randomised phase II and pharmacogenetic study.
      ]
      2006–2008Randomised2118LPSBrostallicin1No10 (8.47%)
      Judson et al. (2014) [
      • Judson I.
      • Verweij J.
      • Gelderblom H.
      • Hartmann J.T.
      • Schöffski P.
      • Blay J.Y.
      • et al.
      Doxorubicin alone versus intensified doxorubicin plus ifosfamide for first-line treatment of advanced or metastatic soft-tissue sarcoma: a randomised controlled phase 3 trial.
      ]
      2003–2010Randomised3455LPSDoxorubicin1Yes25 (5.49%)
      LPSDoxorubicin + ifosfamide1Yes29 (6.37%)
      SSDoxorubicin1Yes37 (8.13%)
      SSDoxorubicin + ifosfamide1Yes26 (5.71%)
      Bui-Nguyen et al. (2015) [
      • Bui-Nguyen B.
      • Butrynski J.E.
      • Penel N.
      • Blay J.Y.
      • Isambert N.
      • Milhem M.
      • et al.
      A phase IIb multicentre study comparing the efficacy of trabectedin to doxorubicin in patients with advanced or metastatic untreated soft tissue sarcoma: the TRUSTS trial.
      ]
      2011–2012Randomised2|3133LPSDoxorubicin1Yes13 (9.77%)
      LPSTrabectedin 24h1No10 (7.52%)
      Kawai et al. (2015) [
      • Kawai A.
      • Araki N.
      • Sugiura H.
      • Ueda T.
      • Yonemoto T.
      • Takahashi M.
      • et al.
      Trabectedin monotherapy after standard chemotherapy versus best supportive care in patients with advanced, translocation-related sarcoma: a randomised, open-label, phase 2 study.
      ]
      2012–2014Randomised276LPSTrabectedin2+Yes14 (18.42%)
      Robbins et al. (2015) [
      • Robbins P.F.
      • Kassim S.H.
      • Tran T.L.N.
      • Crystal J.S.
      • Morgan R.A.
      • Feldman S.A.
      • et al.
      A pilot trial using lymphocytes genetically engineered with an NY-ESO-1-reactive T-cell receptor: long-term follow-up and correlates with response.
      ]
      2008–2012Non-randomised238SSCyclophosphamide + fludarabine + TCR transduced cells2+No19 (50.00%)
      Toulmonde et al. (2015) [
      • Toulmonde M.
      • Le Cesne A.
      • Piperno-Neumann S.
      • Penel N.
      • Chevreau C.
      • Duffaud F.
      • et al.
      Aplidin in patients with advanced dedifferentiated liposarcomas: a French Sarcoma Group Single-Arm Phase II study.
      ]
      2012–2013Non-randomised224LPSAplidin2+No13 (54.17%)
      Demetri et al. (2016) [
      • Demetri G.D.
      • Von Mehren M.
      • Jones R.L.
      • Hensley M.L.
      • Schuetze S.M.
      • Staddon A.
      • et al.
      Efficacy and safety of trabectedin or dacarbazine for metastatic liposarcoma or leiomyosarcoma after failure of conventional chemotherapy: results of a phase III randomized multicenter clinical trial.
      ]
      2011–2013Randomised3518LPSDacarbazine2+No47 (9.07%)
      LPSTrabectedin2+Yes93 (17.95%)
      Dickson et al. (2016) [
      • Dickson M.A.
      • Schwartz G.K.
      • Louise Keohan M.
      • D'Angelo S.P.
      • Gounder M.M.
      • Chi P.
      • et al.
      Phase 2 trial of the CDK4 inhibitor palbociclib (PD0332991) at 125 mg dose in well-differentiated or dedifferentiated liposarcoma.
      ]
      2011–2014Non-randomised260LPSPalbociclib1No22 (36.67%)
      LPSPalbociclib2+No36 (60.00%)
      Mir et al. (2016) [
      • Mir O.
      • Brodowicz T.
      • Italiano A.
      • Wallet J.
      • Blay J.Y.
      • Bertucci F.
      • et al.
      Safety and efficacy of regorafenib in patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma (REGOSARC): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 2 trial.
      ]
      2013–2014Randomised2182LPSRegorafenib2+No20 (10.99%)
      SSRegorafenib2+No13 (7.14%)
      Schöffski et al. (2016) [
      • Schöffski P.
      • Chawla S.
      • Maki R.G.
      • Italiano A.
      • Gelderblom H.
      • Choy E.
      • et al.
      Eribulin versus dacarbazine in previously treated patients with advanced liposarcoma or leiomyosarcoma: a randomised, open-label, multicentre, phase 3 trial.
      ]
      2011–2013Randomised3452LPSDacarbazine2+No72 (15.93%)
      LPSEribulin2+Yes71 (15.71%)
      Schuetze et al. (2016) [
      • Schuetze S.M.
      • Wathen J.K.
      • Lucas D.R.
      • Choy E.
      • Samuels B.L.
      • Staddon A.P.
      • et al.
      SARC009: phase 2 study of dasatinib in patients with previously treated, high-grade, advanced sarcoma.
      ]
      2007–2009Non-randomised2196LPSDasatinib2+No11 (5.61%)
      Buonadonna et al. (2017) [
      • Buonadonna A.
      • Benson C.
      • Casanova J.
      • Kasper B.
      • López Pousa A.
      • Mazzeo F.
      • et al.
      A noninterventional, multicenter, prospective phase IV study of trabectedin in patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma.
      ]
      2012–2014Non-randomised4218LPSTrabectedin2+Yes42 (19.27%)
      SSTrabectedin2+Yes23 (10.55%)
      Kawai et al. (2017) [
      • Kawai A.
      • Araki N.
      • Naito Y.
      • Ozaki T.
      • Sugiura H.
      • Yazawa Y.
      • et al.
      Phase 2 study of eribulin in patients with previously treated advanced or metastatic soft tissue sarcoma.
      ]
      2011–2014Non-randomised252LPSEribulin2+Yes16 (30.77%)
      Samuels et al. (2017) [
      • Samuels B.L.
      • Chawla S.P.
      • Somaiah N.
      • Staddon A.P.
      • Skubitz K.M.
      • Milhem M.M.
      • et al.
      Results of a prospective phase 2 study of pazopanib in patients with advanced intermediate-grade or high-grade liposarcoma.
      ]
      2012–2015Non-randomised241LPSPazopanib2+No41 (100.00%)
      Seddon et al. (2017) [
      • Seddon B.
      • Strauss S.J.
      • Whelan J.
      • Leahy M.
      • Woll P.J.
      • Cowie F.
      • et al.
      Gemcitabine and docetaxel versus doxorubicin as first-line treatment in previously untreated advanced unresectable or metastatic soft-tissue sarcomas (GeDDiS): a randomised controlled phase 3 trial.
      ]
      2010–2014Randomised3257LPSDoxorubicin1Yes17 (6.61%)
      LPSDocetaxel + gemcitabine1No11 (4.28%)
      Tap et al. (2017) [
      • Tap W.D.
      • Papai Z.
      • Van Tine B.A.
      • Attia S.
      • Ganjoo K.N.
      • Jones R.L.
      • et al.
      Doxorubicin plus evofosfamide versus doxorubicin alone in locally advanced, unresectable or metastatic soft-tissue sarcoma (TH CR-406/SARC021): an international, multicentre, open-label, randomised phase 3 trial.
      ]
      2011–2014Randomised3640LPSDoxorubicin1Yes50 (7.81%)
      LPSDoxorubicin + evofosfamide1No59 (9.22%)
      SSDoxorubicin1Yes11 (1.72%)
      SSDoxorubicin + evofosfamide1No17 (2.66%)
      Tawbi et al. (2017) [
      • Tawbi H.A.
      • Burgess M.
      • Bolejack V.
      • Van Tine B.A.
      • Schuetze S.M.
      • Hu J.
      • et al.
      Pembrolizumab in advanced soft-tissue sarcoma and bone sarcoma (SARC028): a multicentre, two-cohort, single-arm, open-label, phase 2 trial.
      ]
      2015–2016Non-randomised286LPSPembrolizumab2+No38 (44.19%)
      SSPembrolizumab2+No10 (11.63%)

      3.3 Risk of publication bias

      The contour enhanced funnel plots did not indicate systematic asymmetry between the studies included for LPS or SS meta-analyses with the exception of pre-treated LPS population at 6 months. Tests for funnel plot asymmetry indicated low risk of publication bias in the databases for SS and first-line LPS, as well as high risk of bias for pre-treated LPS at 6 months (see Appendix sections 2.3 and 2.4). However, publication bias cannot be excluded for first-line SS patients because of the very limited number of studies (three trials, five treatment regimens).

      3.4 LPS meta-analyses

      Forest plots for first-line and pre-treated patients are illustrated in Fig. 2, Fig. 3. For first-line, the pooled PFSRs at 3 months were 73% (95%-CI 61–82%) and 64% (95%-CI 48–77%) for R-T/NR-T, respectively. At 6 months PFSRs were 61% (95%-CI 47–74%) and 48% (95%-CI 31–66%). There was no statistically significant difference between the two groups of drugs (p-values 0.32 and 0.27). Overall heterogeneity was high (I2 = 48% with p = 0.02 at 3 months, I2 = 63% with p < 0.01 at 6 months). Regarding the pre-treated population, the pooled PFSRs were 62% (95%-CI 48–75%) or 39% (95%-CI 29–50%) at 3 and 6 months for R-T, and 42% (95%-CI 33–52%) or 21% (95%-CI 16–28%) for NR-T, respectively. Differences between R-T/NR-T were found to be significant at both 3 and 6 months (p-value < 0.05). Overall heterogeneity was very high at 3 and 6 months (I2 > 65%, p < 0.01). Univariate meta-regressions did not identify any prognostic factors which can explain part of the heterogeneity at 3 and 6 months (amongst phase, study design, year of activation, sample size; see Appendix).
      Fig. 2
      Fig. 2Forest plots of PFS at 3 (upper panel) and 6 (low panel) months for first-line LPS patients. PFS proportion at 3 or 6 months was defined as the approximate proportion of patients alive and without disease progression (: number of cases) at 3 or 6 months. Treatments were classified as recommended or non-recommended according to the ESMO 2021 guidelines [
      • Gronchi A.
      • Miah A.B.
      • Dei Tos A.P.
      • Abecassis N.
      • Bajpai J.
      • Bauer S.
      • et al.
      Soft tissue and visceral sarcomas: ESMO–EURACAN–GENTURIS Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up.
      ]. Heterogeneity refers to variability in outcomes (PFS proportions) between the studies that cannot be attributed to random variation. A PFSR is the proportion × 100.
      Fig. 3
      Fig. 3Forest plots of PFS at 3 (upper panel) and 6 (low panel) months for pre-treated LPS patients.

      3.5 SS meta-analyses

      In the first-line setting, the pooled 3-month PFSR for R-T/NR-T, respectively was 74% (95%-CI 53–88%) and 75% (95%-CI 47–91%) and the pooled 6-month PFSR 58% (95%-CI 27–84%) and 52% (95%-CI 18–85%) (see Fig. 4). Differences between recommended or non-recommended drugs were non-significant (p-values 0.97 and 0.84). Overall variation was moderate at 3 months (I2 = 41%, p = 0.15) and high at 6 months (I2 = 75%, p < 0.01). The pooled PFSR for pre-treated patients reduced to 59% (95%-CI 39–76%) and 38% (95%-CI 26–52%) for R-T/NR-T at 3 months and 34% (95%-CI 19–54%)/19% (95%-CI 10–32%) at 6 months (Fig. 5). Nevertheless, differences between the classified drugs were not significant (3- and 6-month p-values 0.09 and 0.12). Overall heterogeneity at both time points was estimated to be high (I2 > 60%, p < 0.01). Meta-regressions were not performed for first-line due to very limited number of studies. For the pre-treated patients, meta-regressions did not identify any prognostic covariate at 3 and 6 months.
      Fig. 4
      Fig. 4Forest plots of PFS at 3 (upper panel) and 6 (low panel) months for first-line SS patients.
      Fig. 5
      Fig. 5Forest plots of PFS at 3 (upper panel) and 6 (low panel) months for pre-treated SS patients. Cycl + Flud + TCR = cyclophosphamide + fludarabine + TCR transduced cells.

      3.6 Sensitivity meta-analyses

      Regarding LPS (see Appendix section 2.3), Baujat plots detected ‘Blay 2014: Trabectedin’ [
      • Blay J.Y.
      • Leahy M.G.
      • Nguyen B.B.
      • Patel S.R.
      • Hohenberger P.
      • Santoro A.
      • et al.
      Randomised phase III trial of trabectedin versus doxorubicin-based chemotherapy as first-line therapy in translocation-related sarcomas.
      ] as a potentially influential treatment regimen for first-line at 3 and 6 months (overall pooled PFSR decreased 2% and 3% after the exclusion of this treatment regimen). Overall heterogeneity slightly decreased. For patients previously treated with systemic therapy, ‘Samuels 2017: pazopanib’ [
      • Samuels B.L.
      • Chawla S.P.
      • Somaiah N.
      • Staddon A.P.
      • Skubitz K.M.
      • Milhem M.M.
      • et al.
      Results of a prospective phase 2 study of pazopanib in patients with advanced intermediate-grade or high-grade liposarcoma.
      ] was identified by Baujat plots and diagnostics (overall PFSR decreased 2% and 1% at 3 and 6 months but heterogeneity did not go down). Results were robust to the candidate outlier in the pre-treated setting and less robust in the first-line setting.
      Secondly for SS (see Appendix section 2.4), the plots and diagnostics for first-line agents pointed out ‘Judson 2014: doxorubicin + ifosfamide’ [
      • Judson I.
      • Verweij J.
      • Gelderblom H.
      • Hartmann J.T.
      • Schöffski P.
      • Blay J.Y.
      • et al.
      Doxorubicin alone versus intensified doxorubicin plus ifosfamide for first-line treatment of advanced or metastatic soft-tissue sarcoma: a randomised controlled phase 3 trial.
      ] as the most influential study (overall pooled PFSR decreased 6% at 3 months and 10% at 6 months after removing it from the database). Overall heterogeneity dropped substantially, which could be expected because of the limited studies here (three clinical trials, five regimens). For pre-treated population, the treatment regimen of ‘Robbins 2015: cyclophosphamide + fludarabine + TCR transduced cells’ [
      • Robbins P.F.
      • Kassim S.H.
      • Tran T.L.N.
      • Crystal J.S.
      • Morgan R.A.
      • Feldman S.A.
      • et al.
      A pilot trial using lymphocytes genetically engineered with an NY-ESO-1-reactive T-cell receptor: long-term follow-up and correlates with response.
      ] was detected as outlier (overall rate decreased 2% and 1% but heterogeneity did not change substantially). Findings showed that meta-analyses were robust in the pre-treated but not robust in first-line setting (because of the only five treatment regimens in total).

      3.7 New benchmarks

      Similar to our previous LMS meta-analysis [
      • Kantidakis G.
      • Litière S.
      • Neven A.
      • Vinches M.
      • Judson I.
      • Schöffski P.
      • et al.
      Efficacy thresholds for clinical trials with advanced or metastatic leiomyosarcoma patients: a European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Soft Tissue and Bone Sarcoma Group meta-analysis based on a literature review for soft-tissue sarcoma.
      ], the overall pooled PFSRs at 3 or 6 months are used as the reference values for the parameter P0 (null hypothesis). To elaborate on this, for all LMS, PFS rates did not differ significantly between the two groups of drugs (R-T, NR-T) for first or further lines of treatment. Here, results for LPS and SS were concordant with the exception of previously treated LPS patients where differences between R-T and NR-T were significant. For the sake of consistency, it was decided to use the overall pooled rates to guide P0. To calculate the reference values of the parameter P1 (alternative hypothesis), the ESMO-MCBS suggestions [
      • Cherny N.I.
      • Dafni U.
      • Bogaerts J.
      • Latino N.J.
      • Pentheroudakis G.
      • Douillard J.Y.
      • et al.
      ESMO-magnitude of clinical benefit scale version 1.1.
      ] in an advanced/metastatic setting were employed assuming an exponential PFS curve. The tool recommends a hazard ratio (HR) ≤ 0.65 (scale evaluation form 2b).
      Parameters P0 and P1 are provided in Table 2 per treatment line and analysed group. For LPS, the minimum values to reach for suggesting drug activity in first-line patients are 79% and 69% (82% and 69% for SS) at 3 and 6 months. For pre-treated patients, recommended rates are 63% and 44% (60% and 41% for SS), respectively. Owing to the limited numbers of studies and the differences between primary and sensitivity analyses, benchmarks for first-line SS patients have to be interpreted with caution. Please see fig. 6 of Ref. [
      • Kantidakis G.
      • Litière S.
      • Neven A.
      • Vinches M.
      • Judson I.
      • Schöffski P.
      • et al.
      Efficacy thresholds for clinical trials with advanced or metastatic leiomyosarcoma patients: a European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Soft Tissue and Bone Sarcoma Group meta-analysis based on a literature review for soft-tissue sarcoma.
      ] for further details on how to use these benchmarks (P0, P1) to aid the design of new phase II studies.
      Table 2Treatment effect (PFSR) for the null hypothesis (H0) parameter P0 and the alternative hypothesis (H1) parameter P1 of a study for LPS or SS patients. Note: LPS, liposarcoma. SS, synovial sarcoma. PFSRs for SS are presented in shade. The overall pooled PFSRs at 3 and 6 months were used to provide reference values for P0. Using the recommended treatment effect for PFS by the ESMO Magnitude of Clinical Benefit Scale (ESMO-MCBS), minimum values to target for P1 were calculated.
      Treatment line & analysed groupThree monthsSix months
      Ref (P0)Min target (P1)Ref (P0)Min target (P1)
      First-line LPS69%79%56%69%
      First-line SS74%82%56%69%
      Pre-treated LPS49%63%28%44%
      Pre-treated SS45%60%25%41%
      Suppose that we would like to calculate the sample size for a new phase II trial with pre-treated LPS patients and a single-stage A'Hern design [
      • A'Hern R.P.
      Sample size tables for exact single-stage phase II designs.
      ], given the new thresholds, assuming that the primary endpoint is PFSR at 3 months (i.e. P0 = 49%, P1 = 63%). The power and sample size are computed under the alternative hypothesis that P = P1. For a type I error 10% (α = 0.10) and 80% power (β = 0.20), a total of 60 eligible patients will need to be treated and followed for the assessment of the primary endpoint. This design would then require 35 patients alive and progression-free to justify further drug investigation.

      4. Discussion

      This research project yielded efficacy thresholds to design new phase II clinical trials for advanced/metastatic LPS or SS patients with PFSR at 3 or 6 months as the primary endpoint, based on meta-analyses of summary data collected from sponsors and published papers (2003–2018). Reference values were estimated for the parameter of null hypothesis (P0) as the overall pooled PFSR per treatment line, and new values were calculated for the parameter of alternative hypothesis (P1) using the recommended treatment effects to target by the ESMO-MCBS recommendations [
      • Cherny N.I.
      • Dafni U.
      • Bogaerts J.
      • Latino N.J.
      • Pentheroudakis G.
      • Douillard J.Y.
      • et al.
      ESMO-magnitude of clinical benefit scale version 1.1.
      ].
      Two decades ago, the Van Glabbeke study [
      • Van Glabbeke M.
      • Verweij J.
      • Judson I.
      • Nielsen O.S.
      Progression-free rate as the principal end-point for phase II trials in soft-tissue sarcomas.
      ] suggested benchmarks for various STS patients who participated in phase II clinical trials of the EORTC-STBSG database for treatment with inactive (used for P0) or active agents (used for P1). Hereto, the authors performed an individual patient data (IPD) meta-analysis using progression-free rate as the principal endpoint. In first-line setting with anthracycline-containing regimens, a rate of 64% or 55% suggested drug activity for LPS (n = 110), whereas for SS (n = 115), a rate of 77% or 56% at 3 or 6 months, respectively. On the other hand, in the pre-treated setting, reference values for activity were calculated based on 146 patients from all STS subgroups (39% or 14% at 3 and 6 months, respectively). These values have now been updated and re-evaluated for LPS and SS, per treatment line, to reflect current practice (see Table 2). However, a direct comparison is not meaningful since here we used summary estimates (and not IPD) of a larger number of patients per histotype: 1030 LPS (310 first-line), 348 SS (106 first-line) from phase II, III, or even IV clinical trials, defined benchmarks separately for first-line or pre-treated LPS or SS patients by employing the overall pooled PFSR as P0 (based on inactive and active agents) and the ESMO-MCBS tool to target P1, and used PFSR (any death counted as an event) instead of progression-free rate as the primary endpoint.
      Based on our sensitivity meta-analyses, the new thresholds were shown to be robust (stable) in pre-treated LPS and SS patients. However, values were less robust for first-line LPS, and not robust for first-line SS. Removing one outlier decreases the 6-month PFSR by 10% for first-line SS. This indicates an inconsistent estimate (there), which was expected due to the very limited number of studies (three clinical trials – five treatment regimens). Publication bias was not observed based on the tests except for pre-treated LPS patients at 6 months. A high risk of publication bias could lead to a biased estimate of the summary effect. This is a further reason to push publication of trials regardless of their results. Heterogeneity between studies was moderate to high for first-line LPS or SS patients (I2 > 40%), as well as high for pre-treated LPS or SS (I2 > 60%). Note that a (very) high overall heterogeneity (I2) indicates a large variation between-study-specific effect sizes which could challenge the validity of the meta-analyses. In particular, results for pre-treated subjects should be interpreted with caution due to substantial variability. Heterogeneity could not be explained by meta-regressions (subgroup meta-analyses). Findings of excessive heterogeneity are consistent with our previous work for all LMS (Kantidakis et al., 2021 [
      • Kantidakis G.
      • Litière S.
      • Neven A.
      • Vinches M.
      • Judson I.
      • Schöffski P.
      • et al.
      Efficacy thresholds for clinical trials with advanced or metastatic leiomyosarcoma patients: a European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Soft Tissue and Bone Sarcoma Group meta-analysis based on a literature review for soft-tissue sarcoma.
      ]). Further research is needed to better address this heterogeneity.
      Benchmarks provided in this manuscript are directly comparable with those for LMS [
      • Kantidakis G.
      • Litière S.
      • Neven A.
      • Vinches M.
      • Judson I.
      • Schöffski P.
      • et al.
      Efficacy thresholds for clinical trials with advanced or metastatic leiomyosarcoma patients: a European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Soft Tissue and Bone Sarcoma Group meta-analysis based on a literature review for soft-tissue sarcoma.
      ] since they are based on the same literature review for STS and estimated using the same methodology. For first-line treatment, to suggest drug activity, the proposed 3-month PFSRs are slightly higher for all LMS/SS (82% for both) versus LPS (79%). Differences at 6 months are minimal (70% for all LMS, versus 69% for LPS/SS). For second or later lines, values to reach for LPS (63% and 44% at 3 and 6 months, respectively) and all LMS (62% and 44%) are a bit higher than those recommended for SS patients (60% and 41%). Thus, a need to raise the bar of thresholds for the commonest STS types in future phase II trials is indicated by both of our studies, which aligns with the perspective of the American Society of Clinical Oncology [
      • Ellis L.M.
      • Bernstein D.S.
      • Voest E.E.
      • Berlin J.D.
      • Sargent D.
      • Cortazar P.
      • et al.
      American society of clinical oncology perspective: raising the bar for clinical trials by defining clinically meaningful outcomes.
      ]. The cost-benefit of new systemic therapies for cancer should be balanced against the societal resources in this era of rapidly rising healthcare costs.
      These manuscripts share a number of limitations. First, the large majority of the trials were designed for several STS types and are therefore underpowered for specific subgroup analyses (i.e. here for LPS and SS). This could explain the non-significant difference between recommended and non-recommended treatments based on the standard ESMO guidelines [
      • Gronchi A.
      • Miah A.B.
      • Dei Tos A.P.
      • Abecassis N.
      • Bajpai J.
      • Bauer S.
      • et al.
      Soft tissue and visceral sarcomas: ESMO–EURACAN–GENTURIS Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up.
      ] for first-line LPS/SS and pre-treated SS patients (and also for all LMS in the previous study). Secondly, PFSRs were calculated based on summary estimates per treatment arm and treatment line, which are less reliable than IPD data but require a smaller amount of time to be collected from the different study sponsors. Thirdly, LPS were addressed as a single disease while it is known that there are three different LPS histologic subtypes (e.g. well differentiated/dedifferentiated, myxoid, or pleomorphic) that exhibit different clinical behaviour and sensitivity to treatments. Yet, in older studies, such information might not have been collected at the subtype level. Moreover, the condition of any meta-analysis that the effect sizes between drugs of the same trial are independent may be violated in the randomised studies, as a random-effect model was used for each treatment regimen. We observed a high unexplained overall heterogeneity indicative of a large variation between effect sizes, which may limit our meta-analytic results. Finally, as emphasised in our previous meta-analysis for LMS [
      • Kantidakis G.
      • Litière S.
      • Neven A.
      • Vinches M.
      • Judson I.
      • Schöffski P.
      • et al.
      Efficacy thresholds for clinical trials with advanced or metastatic leiomyosarcoma patients: a European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Soft Tissue and Bone Sarcoma Group meta-analysis based on a literature review for soft-tissue sarcoma.
      ], strong surrogacy properties between PFS and OS are questionable based on two meta-analyses of randomised studies with advanced STS [
      • Savina M.
      • Litière S.
      • Italiano A.
      • Burzykowski T.
      • Bonnetain F.
      • Gourgou S.
      • et al.
      Surrogate endpoints in advanced sarcoma trials: a meta-analysis.
      ,
      • Tanaka K.
      • Kawano M.
      • Iwasaki T.
      • Itonaga I.
      • Tsumura H.
      Surrogacy of intermediate endpoints for overall survival in randomized controlled trials of first-line treatment for advanced soft tissue sarcoma in the pre- and post-pazopanib era: a meta-analytic evaluation.
      ]. Thus, PFS might lead to exaggerated enthusiasm for a new anticancer therapy (see Refs. [
      • Tap W.D.
      • Jones R.L.
      • Van Tine B.A.
      • Chmielowski B.
      • Elias A.D.
      • Adkins D.
      • et al.
      Olaratumab and doxorubicin versus doxorubicin alone for treatment of soft-tissue sarcoma: an open-label phase 1b and randomised phase 2 trial.
      ,
      • Tap W.D.
      • Wagner A.J.
      • Schöffski P.
      • Martin-Broto J.
      • Krarup-Hansen A.
      • Ganjoo K.N.
      • et al.
      Effect of doxorubicin plus olaratumab vs doxorubicin plus placebo on survival in patients with advanced soft tissue sarcomas: the ANNOUNCE randomized clinical trial.
      ]). As such, PFS can be used as the primary endpoint in phase II trials or as futility endpoint in phase III trials, but OS should remain the optimal primary endpoint in phase III trials.
      For instance, the sample size of EORTC 1202 study for second-line patients with metastatic or inoperable locally advanced dedifferentiated LPS with cabazitaxel [
      • Sanfilippo R.
      • Hayward R.L.
      • Musoro J.
      • Benson C.
      • Leahy M.G.
      • Brunello A.
      • et al.
      Updated results of European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) phase 2 trial 1202 cabazitaxel in patients with metastatic or inoperable locally advanced dedifferentiated liposarcoma.
      ] was calculated based on a Simon two-stage optimal design (α = β = 0.10) [
      • Simon R.
      Optimal two-stage designs for phase II clinical trials.
      ] and the Van Glabbeke rules (P0 = 20%, P1 = 40%). Stage one required 4/17 eligible patients progression-free, and stage two required 11/37 eligible patients progression-free at 12 weeks. Hence, according to these rules, the 1202 study has met its primary endpoint (21/38 or 55.3% of patients progression-free at 12 weeks) indicating activity of cabazitaxel. Nevertheless, according to the new values (i.e. P0 = 49%, P1 = 63%, see Table 2), it may be challenging to obtain a significant and relevant improvement over a standard of care in a prospective randomised phase III trial. Note that our new benchmarks might require relatively large sample sizes for new phase II studies because of the smaller target difference between P0 and P1 compared to the ones previously proposed. This could be overcome by targeting a larger treatment difference, e.g. P1 = 69% instead of 63% for a P0 = 49%, or to choose PFSR at 6 months as the endpoint where the differences between P0 and P1 are larger. Our analyses clearly show that the cut-offs provided by Van Glabbeke et al. are suboptimal (3- and 6-month rates of P1 = 64%, 55% for LPS, and 77%, 56% for SS in first-line, 40% and 20% for any histologic subtype in pre-treated setting), they can no longer pave the way to new standard of care. Our benchmarks are setting the bar higher, aiming to identify earlier in the drug development process compounds which have a higher chance to impact clinical practice. If traditional clinical trial designs are deemed unfeasible, more complex and flexible options (e.g. adaptive designs) could be considered. Especially in ultra-rare sarcomas or when accrual is particularly demanding in terms of numbers or timeframe, recruitment challenges could be overcome through international, multi-centre trials.
      There are certain LPS subtypes that could benefit from non-licensed agents. For instance, trabectedin was shown to be highly active for first-line myxoid LPS in the Blay 2014 study [
      • Blay J.Y.
      • Leahy M.G.
      • Nguyen B.B.
      • Patel S.R.
      • Hohenberger P.
      • Santoro A.
      • et al.
      Randomised phase III trial of trabectedin versus doxorubicin-based chemotherapy as first-line therapy in translocation-related sarcomas.
      ] (3- and 6-month PFSR of 96%), and pembrolizumab is currently used on an individual basis for dedifferentiated LPS, but as they are not formally approved for front-line treatment of STS, they are not recommended for first-line treatment of LPS according to the ESMO 2021 clinical practice guidelines. Prospective data to support emerging agents are currently lacking, and this is preventing their adoption in practice. Even if randomised controlled trials are the golden standard, real-world evidence or single-arm phase I/II trials can be helpful for cancer types with rare/ultra-rare indications – including many STS – to accelerate the development and approval of new anticancer treatments [
      • Zuidgeest M.G.P.
      • Goetz I.
      • Groenwold R.H.H.
      • Irving E.
      • van Thiel G.J.M.W.
      • Grobbee D.E.
      Series: pragmatic trials and real world evidence: paper 1. Introduction.
      ].
      Mesenchymal tumours (i.e. STS) are regarded as one of the most challenging fields of diagnostic pathology [
      • Sbaraglia M.
      • Bellan E.
      • Dei Tos A.P.
      The 2020 WHO classification of soft tissue tumours: news and perspectives.
      ]. An accurate diagnosis is laborious for non-specialised pathologists. Data have indicated a proportion of diagnostic error 25–40% in STS [
      • Chamberlain F.
      • Benson C.
      • Thway K.
      • Huang P.
      • Jones R.L.
      • Gennatas S.
      Pharmacotherapy for liposarcoma: current and emerging synthetic treatments.
      ,
      • Ray-Coquard I.
      • Montesco M.C.
      • Coindre J.M.
      • Dei tos A.P.
      • Lurkin A.
      • Ranchère-vince D.
      • et al.
      Sarcoma: concordance between initial diagnosis and centralized expert review in a population-based study within three European regions.
      ]. It may also be challenging to obtain the correct classification within a histological type (e.g., well differentiated could be re-graded as dedifferentiated LPS) [
      • Thway K.
      • Wang J.
      • Mubako T.
      • Fisher C.
      Histopathological diagnostic discrepancies in soft tissue tumours referred to a specialist centre: reassessment in the era of ancillary molecular diagnosis.
      ]. Patients should have computed tomography (CT) scans performed within reference sarcoma centres to improve diagnosis and tailoring treatment allocation [
      • Stacchiotti S.
      • Van Tine B.A.
      Synovial sarcoma: current concepts and future perspectives.
      ]. Furthermore, STS have demonstrated a tremendous heterogeneity (genetic and histologic diversity, clinical prognosis, metastatic patterns, etc.) [
      • Du X.H.
      • Wei H.
      • Zhang P.
      • Yao W.T.
      • Cai Q.Q.
      Heterogeneity of soft tissue sarcomas and its implications in targeted therapy.
      ]. Therefore, the management of adult STS requires a multidisciplinary approach where collaboration is key to allow sufficiently large studies [
      • Hoang N.T.
      • Acevedo L.A.
      • Mann M.J.
      • Tolani B.
      A review of soft-tissue sarcomas: translation of biological advances into treatment measures.
      ].
      In advanced/metastatic STS, therapeutic options beyond first-line (anthracyclines) are increasingly driven by histology. An urgent need remains for the development of individualised treatment plans such as targeted therapy to move away from the conventional chemotherapy options. This work provides modern thresholds for suggesting drug activity, this time for LPS and SS patients, to aid the design of new histology-tailored phase II trials using PFSR at 3 or 6 months as endpoint. We hope that phase II studies which meet the updated thresholds for these histotypes will then lead to higher success rates in new prospective phase III trials to avoid the large costs associated with their failure.

      Role of the funding source

      This work was supported by the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer - Soft Tissue and Bone Sarcoma Group (EORTC-STBSG). The funder of the study had no role in study design, data collection, data analysis, data interpretation, or writing of the report.

      Author contributions

      G.K., S.L., A.N., M.F., and H.G. conceived and designed the study. G.K., A.N., and M.V. searched and selected the trials, collected, and validated the data. G.K., S.L., M.F., and H.G. coordinated responsibility for the research activity planning and execution. G.K. carried out the statistical analysis and interpreted the data supervised by S.L., A.N., M.F., and H.G.; M.V., I.J., J-Y.B., E.W., S.S., L.D'.A., S.M., W.G., B.K., and H.G. provided clinical input. G.K. wrote the original draft and all the other authors critically revised it and approved the final version.

      Conflict of interest statement

      The authors declare the following financial interests/personal relationships which may be considered as potential competing interests:
      J.-Y.B. has reported research support and honoraria from GSK Adaptimmune, Pharmamar, and Novartis; all outside the scope of this article. S.S. has reported personal financial interests (honoraria, consultancy, or advisory role) for Aadi, Bavarian Nordic, Bayer, Boeringher, Daiichi Sankyo, Deciphera, Epizyme, Glaxo, Ikena, Maxivax, Novartis, Pharmamar, Rainthera, and Servier; institutional financial interests with Advenchen, Amgen Dompè, Bayer, Daiichi Sankyo, Deciphera, Epizyme, Eli Lilly, Glaxo, Inhibrix, Hutchinson, Karyopharm, Novartis, Pfizer, Pharmamar, RainThera, and Springworks; all outside the scope of the submitted work. L.D'.A. has reported advisory board for PSI CRO Italy, GSK, AstraZenca, and Eisai; received travel support for meeting participation from Pharmamar, Eli Lilly, Celgene, and AstraZeneca; all outside the submitted article. W.G. has reported advisory role for Bayer, GSK, Springworks and PTC Therapeutics; received research grant support to the Institute from Eli Lilly; all outside the submitted work. All remaining authors have declared no conflicts of interest.

      Acknowledgements

      Georgios Kantidakis's work as a Fellow at EORTC Headquarters was supported by a grant from the EORTC Soft Tissue and Bone Sarcoma Group and Leiden University Medical Center department of Medical Oncology as well as from the EORTC Cancer Research Fund (ECRF). Marie Vinches's work as a Fellow at EORTC Headquarters was supported by a grant from Fonds Cancer (FOCA) from Belgium. This publication was supported by a donation from Kom Op Tegen Kanker (Stand up to Cancer), the Flemish Cancer Society from Belgium. The authors would like to express their appreciation to all the primary investigators (PI) who shared valuable PFS estimates at 3 and 6 months for liposarcoma (LPS) and/or synovial sarcoma (SS) patients, namely, Dr Akira Kawai (1 study; LPS), Dr PA Cassier (1 study; LPS), Dr Mark A. Dickson (2 studies; LPS), Dr Joan Maurel (1 study; LPS), Dr Beatrice Seddon (1 study; LPS), Dr. Paul F. Robbins (1 study; SS), and Prof Antoine Italiano (1 study; LPS). In addition, we would like to sincerely thank the following sponsors SARC (4 studies: PI Prof Scott M. Schuetze; LPS, PI Prof Rashmi Chugh; LPS and SS, PI Prof Hussein A Tawbi; LPS and SS, PI Dr William D Tap; LPS and SS), PharmaMar (2 studies: PI Prof Nicolas Penel; LPS and SS, PI Prof Jean-Yves Blay; LPS and SS), Eisai (1 study: PI Prof Patrick Schöffski; LPS), and Taiho Pharmaceutical (1 study: PI Dr Akira Kawai; LPS) for the provision of summary PFS estimates at 3 and 6 months. All analyses and conclusions in this article are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of these primary investigators, SARC, PharmaMar, Eisai, or Taiho Pharmaceutical.

      Appendix A. Supplementary data

      The following is the supplementary data to this article:

      References

        • Gamboa A.C.
        • Gronchi A.
        • Cardona K.
        Soft-tissue sarcoma in adults: an update on the current state of histiotype-specific management in an era of personalized medicine.
        CA Cancer J Clin. 2020; 70: 200-229https://doi.org/10.3322/caac.21605
        • Frezza A.M.
        • Stacchiotti S.
        • Gronchi A.
        Systemic treatment in advanced soft tissue sarcoma: what is standard, what is new.
        BMC Med. 2017; 15: 1-12https://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-017-0872-y
        • Hoang N.T.
        • Acevedo L.A.
        • Mann M.J.
        • Tolani B.
        A review of soft-tissue sarcomas: translation of biological advances into treatment measures.
        Cancer Manag Res. 2018; 10: 1089-1114https://doi.org/10.2147/CMAR.S159641
        • Smrke A.
        • Wang Y.
        • Simmons C.
        Update on systemic therapy for advanced soft-tissue sarcoma.
        Curr Oncol. 2020; 27: 25-33https://doi.org/10.3747/CO.27.5475
        • Tap W.D.
        • Jones R.L.
        • Van Tine B.A.
        • Chmielowski B.
        • Elias A.D.
        • Adkins D.
        • et al.
        Olaratumab and doxorubicin versus doxorubicin alone for treatment of soft-tissue sarcoma: an open-label phase 1b and randomised phase 2 trial.
        Lancet. 2016; 388: 488-497https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(16)30587-6
        • Chamberlain F.
        • Benson C.
        • Thway K.
        • Huang P.
        • Jones R.L.
        • Gennatas S.
        Pharmacotherapy for liposarcoma: current and emerging synthetic treatments.
        Futur Oncol. 2021; 17: 2659-2670https://doi.org/10.2217/fon-2020-1092
        • Yang L.
        • Chen S.
        • Luo P.
        • Yan W.
        • Wang C.
        Liposarcoma: advances in cellular and molecular genetics alterations and corresponding clinical treatment.
        J Cancer. 2020; 11: 100-107https://doi.org/10.7150/jca.36380
        • Keung E.Z.
        • Somaiah N.
        Overview of liposarcomas and their genomic landscape.
        J Transl Genet Genom. 2019; 3: 8https://doi.org/10.20517/jtgg.2019.03
        • Aytekin M.N.
        • Öztürk R.
        • Amer K.
        • Yapar A.
        Epidemiology, incidence, and survival of synovial sarcoma subtypes: SEER database analysis.
        J Orthop Surg. 2020; 28: 1-12https://doi.org/10.1177/2309499020936009
        • Gazendam A.M.
        • Popovic S.
        • Munir S.
        • Parasu N.
        • Wilson D.
        • Ghert M.
        Synovial sarcoma: a clinical review.
        Curr Oncol. 2021; 28: 1909-1920https://doi.org/10.3390/curroncol28030177
        • Stacchiotti S.
        • Van Tine B.A.
        Synovial sarcoma: current concepts and future perspectives.
        J Clin Oncol. 2018; 36: 180-187https://doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2017.75.1941
        • Van Glabbeke M.
        • Verweij J.
        • Judson I.
        • Nielsen O.S.
        Progression-free rate as the principal end-point for phase II trials in soft-tissue sarcomas.
        Eur J Cancer. 2002; 38: 543-549https://doi.org/10.1016/S0959-8049(01)00398-7
        • Kantidakis G.
        • Litière S.
        • Neven A.
        • Vinches M.
        • Judson I.
        • Schöffski P.
        • et al.
        Efficacy thresholds for clinical trials with advanced or metastatic leiomyosarcoma patients: a European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Soft Tissue and Bone Sarcoma Group meta-analysis based on a literature review for soft-tissue sarcoma.
        Eur J Cancer. 2021; 154: 253-268https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.06.025
        • Casali P.G.
        • Abecassis N.
        • Aro H.T.
        • Bauer S.
        • Biagini R.
        • Bielack S.
        • et al.
        Soft tissue and visceral sarcomas: ESMO-EURACAN Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up.
        Ann Oncol. 2018; 29: iv51-iv67https://doi.org/10.1093/annonc/mdy321
        • Cherny N.I.
        • Dafni U.
        • Bogaerts J.
        • Latino N.J.
        • Pentheroudakis G.
        • Douillard J.Y.
        • et al.
        ESMO-magnitude of clinical benefit scale version 1.1.
        Ann Oncol. 2017; 28: 2340-2366https://doi.org/10.1093/annonc/mdx310
        • de Pinieux G.
        • Karanian M.
        • Le Loarer F.
        • Le Guellec S.
        • Chabaud S.
        • Terrier P.
        • et al.
        Nationwide incidence of sarcomas and connective tissue tumors of intermediate malignancy over four years using an expert pathology review network.
        PLoS One. 2021; 16: e0246958https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0246958
        • Liberati A.
        • Altman D.G.
        • Tetzlaff J.
        • Mulrow C.
        • Gøtzsche P.C.
        • Ioannidis J.P.A.
        • et al.
        The PRISMA statement for reporting systematic reviews and meta-analyses of studies that evaluate health care interventions: explanation and elaboration.
        J Clin Epidemiol. 2009; 62: e1-e34https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclinepi.2009.06.006
        • Dersimonian R.
        • Laird N.
        Meta-analysis in clinical trials.
        Control Clin Trials. 1986; 7: 177-188
        • Dersimonian R.
        • Laird N.
        Meta-analysis in clinical trials revisited.
        Contemp Clin Trials. 2015; 45: 139-145https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cct.2015.09.002.Meta-Analysis
        • Feller W.
        On the normal approximation to the binomial distribution.
        Ann Math Stat. 1945; 16: 319-329https://doi.org/10.1214/aoms/1177731058
        • Wang N.
        How to conduct a meta-analysis of proportions in R: a comprehensive tutorial conducting meta-analyses of proportions in R.
        in: John Jay Coll Crim Justice. 1–62. 2018https://doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.27199.00161
        • Borenstein M.
        • Hedges L.V.
        • Higgins J.P.T.
        • Rothstein H.R.
        Introduction to meta-analysis.
        John Wiley & Sons, 2011
        • Gronchi A.
        • Miah A.B.
        • Dei Tos A.P.
        • Abecassis N.
        • Bajpai J.
        • Bauer S.
        • et al.
        Soft tissue and visceral sarcomas: ESMO–EURACAN–GENTURIS Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up.
        Ann Oncol. 2021; 32: 1348-1365https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annonc.2021.07.006
        • Peters J.L.
        • Sutton A.J.
        • Jones D.R.
        • Abrams K.R.
        • Rushton L.
        Contour-enhanced meta-analysis funnel plots help distinguish publication bias from other causes of asymmetry.
        J Clin Epidemiol. 2008; 61: 991-996https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclinepi.2007.11.010
        • Egger M.
        • Smith G.D.
        • Schneider M.
        • Minder C.
        Bias in meta-analysis detected by a simple, graphical test measures of funnel plot asymmetry.
        BMJ. 1997; 315: 629-634https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.315.7109.629
        • Begg C.B.
        • Mazumdar M.
        Operating characteristics of a rank correlation test for publication bias.
        Biometrics. 1994; 50: 1088-1101https://doi.org/10.2307/2533446
        • Baujat B.
        • Mahé C.
        • Pignon J.P.
        • Hill C.
        A graphical method for exploring heterogeneity in meta-analyses: application to a meta-analysis of 65 trials.
        Stat Med. 2002; 21: 2641-2652https://doi.org/10.1002/sim.1221
        • Viechtbauer W.
        Conducting meta-analyses in R with the metafor package.
        J Stat Softw. 2010; 36: 1-48
        • Swarzer G.
        meta: an R package for meta-analysis.
        R News. 2007; 7: 40-45
        • Chugh R.
        • Wathen J.K.
        • Maki R.G.
        • Benjamin R.S.
        • Patel S.R.
        • Myers P.A.
        • et al.
        Phase II multicenter trial of imatinib in 10 histologic subtypes of sarcoma using a Bayesian hierarchical statistical model.
        J Clin Oncol. 2009; 27: 3148-3153https://doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2008.20.5054
        • Maurel J.
        • López-Pousa A.
        • De Las Peñas R.
        • Fra J.
        • Martín J.
        • Cruz J.
        • et al.
        Efficacy of sequential high-dose doxorubicin and ifosfamide compared with standard-dose doxorubicin in patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma: an open-label randomized phase II study of the Spanish group for research on sarcomas.
        J Clin Oncol. 2009; 27: 1893-1898https://doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2008.19.2930
        • Judson I.
        • Verweij J.
        • Gelderblom H.
        • Hartmann J.T.
        • Schöffski P.
        • Blay J.Y.
        • et al.
        Doxorubicin alone versus intensified doxorubicin plus ifosfamide for first-line treatment of advanced or metastatic soft-tissue sarcoma: a randomised controlled phase 3 trial.
        Lancet Oncol. 2014; 15: 415-423https://doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(14)70063-4
        • Bui-Nguyen B.
        • Butrynski J.E.
        • Penel N.
        • Blay J.Y.
        • Isambert N.
        • Milhem M.
        • et al.
        A phase IIb multicentre study comparing the efficacy of trabectedin to doxorubicin in patients with advanced or metastatic untreated soft tissue sarcoma: the TRUSTS trial.
        Eur J Cancer. 2015; 51: 1312-1320https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2015.03.023
        • Kawai A.
        • Araki N.
        • Sugiura H.
        • Ueda T.
        • Yonemoto T.
        • Takahashi M.
        • et al.
        Trabectedin monotherapy after standard chemotherapy versus best supportive care in patients with advanced, translocation-related sarcoma: a randomised, open-label, phase 2 study.
        Lancet Oncol. 2015; 16: 406-416https://doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(15)70098-7
        • Toulmonde M.
        • Le Cesne A.
        • Piperno-Neumann S.
        • Penel N.
        • Chevreau C.
        • Duffaud F.
        • et al.
        Aplidin in patients with advanced dedifferentiated liposarcomas: a French Sarcoma Group Single-Arm Phase II study.
        Ann Oncol. 2015; 26: 1465-1470https://doi.org/10.1093/annonc/mdv195
        • Demetri G.D.
        • Von Mehren M.
        • Jones R.L.
        • Hensley M.L.
        • Schuetze S.M.
        • Staddon A.
        • et al.
        Efficacy and safety of trabectedin or dacarbazine for metastatic liposarcoma or leiomyosarcoma after failure of conventional chemotherapy: results of a phase III randomized multicenter clinical trial.
        J Clin Oncol. 2016; 34: 786-793https://doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2015.62.4734
        • Dickson M.A.
        • Schwartz G.K.
        • Louise Keohan M.
        • D'Angelo S.P.
        • Gounder M.M.
        • Chi P.
        • et al.
        Phase 2 trial of the CDK4 inhibitor palbociclib (PD0332991) at 125 mg dose in well-differentiated or dedifferentiated liposarcoma.
        JAMA Oncol. 2016; 2: 937-940https://doi.org/10.1001/jamaoncol.2016.0264
        • Mir O.
        • Brodowicz T.
        • Italiano A.
        • Wallet J.
        • Blay J.Y.
        • Bertucci F.
        • et al.
        Safety and efficacy of regorafenib in patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma (REGOSARC): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 2 trial.
        Lancet Oncol. 2016; 17: 1732-1742https://doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(16)30507-1
        • Schöffski P.
        • Chawla S.
        • Maki R.G.
        • Italiano A.
        • Gelderblom H.
        • Choy E.
        • et al.
        Eribulin versus dacarbazine in previously treated patients with advanced liposarcoma or leiomyosarcoma: a randomised, open-label, multicentre, phase 3 trial.
        Lancet. 2016; 387: 1629-1637https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(15)01283-0
        • Schuetze S.M.
        • Wathen J.K.
        • Lucas D.R.
        • Choy E.
        • Samuels B.L.
        • Staddon A.P.
        • et al.
        SARC009: phase 2 study of dasatinib in patients with previously treated, high-grade, advanced sarcoma.
        Cancer. 2016; 122: 868-874https://doi.org/10.1002/cncr.29858
        • Buonadonna A.
        • Benson C.
        • Casanova J.
        • Kasper B.
        • López Pousa A.
        • Mazzeo F.
        • et al.
        A noninterventional, multicenter, prospective phase IV study of trabectedin in patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma.
        Anti Cancer Drugs. 2017; 28: 1157-1165https://doi.org/10.1097/CAD.0000000000000560
        • Sleijfer S.
        • Ray-Coquard I.
        • Papai Z.
        • Le Cesne A.
        • Scurr M.
        • Schöffski P.
        • et al.
        Pazopanib, a multikinase angiogenesis inhibitor, in patients with relapsed or refractory advanced soft tissue sarcoma: a phase II study from the European organisation for research and treatment of cancer-soft tissue and bone sarcoma group (EORTC Study 62043).
        J Clin Oncol. 2009; 27: 3126-3132https://doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2008.21.3223
        • Kawai A.
        • Araki N.
        • Naito Y.
        • Ozaki T.
        • Sugiura H.
        • Yazawa Y.
        • et al.
        Phase 2 study of eribulin in patients with previously treated advanced or metastatic soft tissue sarcoma.
        Jpn J Clin Oncol. 2017; 47: 137-144https://doi.org/10.1093/jjco/hyw175
        • Samuels B.L.
        • Chawla S.P.
        • Somaiah N.
        • Staddon A.P.
        • Skubitz K.M.
        • Milhem M.M.
        • et al.
        Results of a prospective phase 2 study of pazopanib in patients with advanced intermediate-grade or high-grade liposarcoma.
        Cancer. 2017; 123: 4640-4647https://doi.org/10.1002/cncr.30926
        • Seddon B.
        • Strauss S.J.
        • Whelan J.
        • Leahy M.
        • Woll P.J.
        • Cowie F.
        • et al.
        Gemcitabine and docetaxel versus doxorubicin as first-line treatment in previously untreated advanced unresectable or metastatic soft-tissue sarcomas (GeDDiS): a randomised controlled phase 3 trial.
        Lancet Oncol. 2017; 18: 1397-1410https://doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(17)30622-8
        • Tap W.D.
        • Papai Z.
        • Van Tine B.A.
        • Attia S.
        • Ganjoo K.N.
        • Jones R.L.
        • et al.
        Doxorubicin plus evofosfamide versus doxorubicin alone in locally advanced, unresectable or metastatic soft-tissue sarcoma (TH CR-406/SARC021): an international, multicentre, open-label, randomised phase 3 trial.
        Lancet Oncol. 2017; 18: 1089-1103https://doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(17)30381-9
        • Tawbi H.A.
        • Burgess M.
        • Bolejack V.
        • Van Tine B.A.
        • Schuetze S.M.
        • Hu J.
        • et al.
        Pembrolizumab in advanced soft-tissue sarcoma and bone sarcoma (SARC028): a multicentre, two-cohort, single-arm, open-label, phase 2 trial.
        Lancet Oncol. 2017; 18: 1493-1501https://doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(17)30624-1
        • Schöffski P.
        • Ray-Coquard I.L.
        • Cioffi A.
        • Bui N. Bin
        • Bauer S.
        • Hartmann J.T.
        • et al.
        Activity of eribulin mesylate in patients with soft-tissue sarcoma: a phase 2 study in four independent histological subtypes.
        Lancet Oncol. 2011; 12: 1045-1052https://doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(11)70230-3
        • Chawla S.P.
        • Staddon A.P.
        • Baker L.H.
        • Schuetze S.M.
        • Tolcher A.W.
        • D'Amato G.Z.
        • et al.
        Phase II study of the mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitor ridaforolimus in patients with advanced bone and soft tissue sarcomas.
        J Clin Oncol. 2012; 30: 78-84https://doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2011.35.6329
        • Cassier P.A.
        • Lefranc A.
        • Amela E.Y.
        • Chevreau C.
        • Bui B.N.
        • Lecesne A.
        • et al.
        A phase II trial of panobinostat in patients with advanced pretreated soft tissue sarcoma. A study from the French Sarcoma Group.
        Br J Cancer. 2013; 109: 909-914https://doi.org/10.1038/bjc.2013.442
        • Dickson M.A.
        • Tap W.D.
        • Keohan M.L.
        • D'Angelo S.P.
        • Gounder M.M.
        • Antonescu C.R.
        • et al.
        Phase II trial of the CDK4 inhibitor PD0332991 in patients with advanced CDK4-amplified well-differentiated or dedifferentiated liposarcoma.
        J Clin Oncol. 2013; 31: 2024-2028https://doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2012.46.5476
        • Schöffski P.
        • Adkins D.
        • Blay J.Y.
        • Gil T.
        • Elias A.D.
        • Rutkowski P.
        • et al.
        An open-label, phase 2 study evaluating the efficacy and safety of the anti-IGF-1R antibody cixutumumab in patients with previously treated advanced or metastatic soft-tissue sarcoma or Ewing family of tumours.
        Eur J Cancer. 2013; 49: 3219-3228https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2013.06.010
        • Blay J.Y.
        • Leahy M.G.
        • Nguyen B.B.
        • Patel S.R.
        • Hohenberger P.
        • Santoro A.
        • et al.
        Randomised phase III trial of trabectedin versus doxorubicin-based chemotherapy as first-line therapy in translocation-related sarcomas.
        Eur J Cancer. 2014; 50: 1137-1147https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2014.01.012
        • Gelderblom H.
        • Blay J.Y.
        • Seddon B.M.
        • Leahy M.
        • Ray-Coquard I.
        • Sleijfer S.
        • et al.
        Brostallicin versus doxorubicin as first-line chemotherapy in patients with advanced or metastatic soft tissue sarcoma: an European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Soft Tissue and Bone Sarcoma Group randomised phase II and pharmacogenetic study.
        Eur J Cancer. 2014; 50: 388-396https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2013.10.002
        • Ray-Coquard I.
        • Le Cesne A.
        • Whelan J.S.
        • Schoffski P.
        • Bui B.N.
        • Verweij J.
        • et al.
        A phase II study of gefitinib for patients with advanced HER-1 expressing synovial sarcoma refractory to doxorubicin-containing regimens.
        Oncol. 2008; 13: 467-473https://doi.org/10.1634/theoncologist.2008-0065
        • van der Graaf W.T.A.
        • Blay J.Y.
        • Chawla S.P.
        • Kim D.W.
        • Bui-Nguyen B.
        • Casali P.G.
        • et al.
        Pazopanib for metastatic soft-tissue sarcoma (PALETTE): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 trial.
        Lancet. 2012; 379: 1879-1886https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60651-5
        • Robbins P.F.
        • Kassim S.H.
        • Tran T.L.N.
        • Crystal J.S.
        • Morgan R.A.
        • Feldman S.A.
        • et al.
        A pilot trial using lymphocytes genetically engineered with an NY-ESO-1-reactive T-cell receptor: long-term follow-up and correlates with response.
        Clin Cancer Res. 2015; 21: 1019-1027https://doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-14-2708
        • A'Hern R.P.
        Sample size tables for exact single-stage phase II designs.
        Stat Med. 2001; 20: 859-866https://doi.org/10.1002/sim.721
        • Ellis L.M.
        • Bernstein D.S.
        • Voest E.E.
        • Berlin J.D.
        • Sargent D.
        • Cortazar P.
        • et al.
        American society of clinical oncology perspective: raising the bar for clinical trials by defining clinically meaningful outcomes.
        J Clin Oncol. 2014; 32: 1277-1280https://doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2013.53.8009
        • Savina M.
        • Litière S.
        • Italiano A.
        • Burzykowski T.
        • Bonnetain F.
        • Gourgou S.
        • et al.
        Surrogate endpoints in advanced sarcoma trials: a meta-analysis.
        Oncotarget. 2018; 9: 34617-34627https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.26166
        • Tanaka K.
        • Kawano M.
        • Iwasaki T.
        • Itonaga I.
        • Tsumura H.
        Surrogacy of intermediate endpoints for overall survival in randomized controlled trials of first-line treatment for advanced soft tissue sarcoma in the pre- and post-pazopanib era: a meta-analytic evaluation.
        BMC Cancer. 2019; 19: 1-9https://doi.org/10.1186/s12885-019-5268-2
        • Tap W.D.
        • Wagner A.J.
        • Schöffski P.
        • Martin-Broto J.
        • Krarup-Hansen A.
        • Ganjoo K.N.
        • et al.
        Effect of doxorubicin plus olaratumab vs doxorubicin plus placebo on survival in patients with advanced soft tissue sarcomas: the ANNOUNCE randomized clinical trial.
        JAMA. 2020; 323: 1266-1276https://doi.org/10.1001/JAMA.2020.1707
        • Sanfilippo R.
        • Hayward R.L.
        • Musoro J.
        • Benson C.
        • Leahy M.G.
        • Brunello A.
        • et al.
        Updated results of European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) phase 2 trial 1202 cabazitaxel in patients with metastatic or inoperable locally advanced dedifferentiated liposarcoma.
        J Clin Oncol. 2021; 39 (11518–11518)https://doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2021.39.15_SUPPL.11518
        • Simon R.
        Optimal two-stage designs for phase II clinical trials.
        Control Clin Trials. 1989; 10: 1-10https://doi.org/10.1016/0197-2456(89)90015-9
        • Zuidgeest M.G.P.
        • Goetz I.
        • Groenwold R.H.H.
        • Irving E.
        • van Thiel G.J.M.W.
        • Grobbee D.E.
        Series: pragmatic trials and real world evidence: paper 1. Introduction.
        J Clin Epidemiol. 2017; 88: 7-13https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclinepi.2016.12.023
        • Sbaraglia M.
        • Bellan E.
        • Dei Tos A.P.
        The 2020 WHO classification of soft tissue tumours: news and perspectives.
        Pathologica. 2021; 113: 70-84https://doi.org/10.32074/1591-951X-213
        • Ray-Coquard I.
        • Montesco M.C.
        • Coindre J.M.
        • Dei tos A.P.
        • Lurkin A.
        • Ranchère-vince D.
        • et al.
        Sarcoma: concordance between initial diagnosis and centralized expert review in a population-based study within three European regions.
        Ann Oncol. 2012; 23: 2442-2449https://doi.org/10.1093/annonc/mdr610
        • Thway K.
        • Wang J.
        • Mubako T.
        • Fisher C.
        Histopathological diagnostic discrepancies in soft tissue tumours referred to a specialist centre: reassessment in the era of ancillary molecular diagnosis.
        Sarcoma. 2014; 2014https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/686902
        • Du X.H.
        • Wei H.
        • Zhang P.
        • Yao W.T.
        • Cai Q.Q.
        Heterogeneity of soft tissue sarcomas and its implications in targeted therapy.
        Front Oncol. 2020; 10: 1-3https://doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2020.564852