EORTC 1809 STRASS 2 is an international clinical trial exploring treatment options (chemotherapy followed by surgery versus surgery alone) for patients with high-risk retroperitoneal sarcoma, an aggressive and rare cancer affecting the soft tissues of the body. Some types of retroperitoneal sarcoma are particularly aggressive, with a high risk of death in the years after treatment, so better options are needed to improve disease control and survival for these patients.
The EORTC STRASS 2 trial is a international phase 3 clinical trial in 10 European countries, the UK and a collaboration with multiple specialized sarcoma centres in Australia, Canada and North America. Sarcoma UK is contributing to the UK arm of STRASS 2, providing vital collaborative funding to support this important international trial.
Retroperitoneal sarcomas affect the abdomen and make up 15% of all soft-tissue sarcomas. They are challenging to diagnose and aggressive, which makes them difficult to treat. Some subtypes, such as high-grade dedifferentiated liposarcoma and leiomyosarcoma, are particularly high-risk, with a 70% risk of death 5 years after treatment. There is a clear need for new and better treatments for retroperitoneal sarcoma, which is generally treated with just surgery alone.
The first trial of its kind, the STRASS 2 trial aims to investigate the impact of delivering chemotherapy to these high-risk sarcoma patients before surgery. This is a randomised trial, meaning that patients recruited will be randomly split into two groups. Half of the patients recruited will receive just surgery to treat their cancer, while the other half will receive three cycles of chemotherapy, and then surgery 3-6 weeks later.
The main aim of the trial is to see if giving patients chemotherapy before their surgery will improve the chances of survival. Other aims include preventing the sarcoma spreading to other parts of the body, preventing the sarcoma coming back after the patient has recovered, and improving the patients’ quality of life.
What this means for people affected by sarcoma: These high-risk cancers urgently need new and better treatments. Understanding the difference in effectiveness between different types of treatment will mean that clinicians can work to identify the best treatment options for retroperitoneal sarcoma patients.
The EORTC STRASS 2 trial will open in 8 hospitals /cancer centres across the UK.
UK National Coordinator: Dr Dirk Strauss, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust