Impact of NICE guidelines on the survival of patients with soft-tissue sarcomas

Tomohiro Fujiwara, Robert J. Grimer, Scott Evans, Manuel Ricardo Medellin Rincon, Yusuke Tsuda, Louis Romée Le Nail, Seggy Abudu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


AIMS: Urgent referral to a specialist centre for patients with a soft-tissue sarcoma (STS) has been recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the UK since 2006. However, the impact of this recommendation on the prognosis for these patients remains unclear. We aimed to determine the impact of the NICE guidelines on the disease-specific survival (DSS) of patients with an STS. METHODS: A total of 2,427 patients with an STS referred to a supraregional centre in the ten-year periods before (n = 1,386) and after (n = 1,041) the issue of the NICE guidelines were evaluated. RESULTS: The mean size of the tumour was significantly smaller at the time of diagnosis (10.3 cm (SD 6.5) vs 9.1 cm (SD 6.2); p < 0.001) and the number of patients who had undergone an inadvertent excision significantly decreased (28% (n = 389) vs 20% (n = 204); p < 0.001) following the introduction of the NICE guidelines. The five-year DSS was 63% in the pre-NICE and 71% in post-NICE groups (p < 0.001). The improved survival was more significant for those with a high-grade tumour (pre-NICE, 48%; post-NICE, 68%; p < 0.001). In those with a high-grade tumour, the mean size of the tumour (11.6 cm (SD 6.2) vs 9.6 cm (SD 5.8); p < 0.001) and the number of patients with metastasis at the time of diagnosis (15% (n = 124 vs 10% (n = 80); p = 0.007) significantly decreased in the post-NICE group. CONCLUSION: An improvement in survival was seen after the introduction of the NICE guidelines, especially in patients with a high-grade STS. More patients were referred at an earlier stage, indicating a clearer pathway after the issue of national policy for the management of STSs in the UK. Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2021;103-B(3):569-577.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-577
Number of pages9
JournalBone and Joint Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2021


  • Guideline
  • NICE
  • Outcome
  • Prognosis
  • Soft-tissue sarcoma
  • United Kingdom

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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