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Primary bone cancer is cancer that forms in cells of the bone. Some types of primary bone cancer are osteosarcoma, Ewing sarcoma, malignant fibrous histiocytoma, and chondrosarcoma. Learn about bone cancer and find information on how we support and care for people with bone cancer before, during, and after treatment.
When you come to the Center for Sarcoma and Bone Oncology,
you'll meet with members of our team who have expertise in caring for patients with sarcoma.
Patients with sarcoma often require a combination of surgery,
chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. We recognize that a team approach is the best
way to manage these complicated cases.
This means pathologists, medical oncologists, radiologists,
surgeons and other health care professionals who specialize in sarcoma may be
involved in decisions about your care.
Our group is also dedicated to clinical research to develop innovative
treatment strategies for soft tissue and bone malignancies.
We will work with you to find other support services within
Dana-Farber, including nutrition, complementary therapies, spiritual support,
financial help, survivorship, and resources for families and young adults.
Our specialists see patients with all sarcomas and a variety
of mesenchymal tumors, including:
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seen before at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center,
please call 877-442-3324
or use this online form
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If you need to schedule a follow-up appointment
or for other questions, you’ll find your clinician’s contact information here
Learn more about the Center for Sarcoma and Bone Oncology
Osteosarcoma usually starts in osteoblasts, which are a type of bone cell that grows into new bone tissue. Osteosarcoma is most common in teenagers and young adults. It commonly forms in the ends of the long bones of the body, which include bones of the arms and legs. In children and teenagers, it often develops around the knee. Rarely, osteosarcoma may be found in soft tissue or organs in the chest or abdomen.
Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer. Malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH) of bone is a rare tumor of the bone. It is treated like osteosarcoma.
Ewing sarcoma is another kind of bone cancer, but it is not covered in this summary. See the PDQ summary on Ewing Sarcoma Family of Tumors for more information.
Anything that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn’t mean that you will not get cancer. People who think they may be at risk should discuss this with their doctor. Risk factors for osteosarcoma include the following:
These and other symptoms may be caused by osteosarcoma or MFH. Other conditions may cause the same symptoms. A doctor should be consulted if any of the following problems occur:
Imaging tests are done before the biopsy. The following tests and procedures may be used:
Cells and tissues are removed during a biopsy so they can be viewed under a microscope by a pathologist to check for signs of cancer. It is important that the biopsy be done by a surgeon who is an expert in treating cancer of the bone. It is best if that surgeon is also the one who removes the tumor. The biopsy and the surgery to remove the tumor are planned together. The way the biopsy is done affects which type of surgery can be done later.
The type of biopsy that is done will be based on the size of the tumor and where it is in the body. There are three types of biopsy that may be used:
The following tests may be done on the tissue that is removed:
The prognosis (chance of recovery) is affected by certain factors before and after treatment.
The prognosis of untreated osteosarcoma and MFH depends on the following:
After osteosarcoma or MFH is treated, prognosis also depends on the following:
Treatment options for osteosarcoma and MFH depend on the following:
The process used to find out if cancer has spread to other parts of the body is called staging. For osteosarcoma and malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH), most patients are grouped according to whether cancer is found in only one part of the body or has spread. The following tests and procedures may be used:
The three ways that cancer spreads in the body are:
When cancer cells break away from the primary (original) tumor and travel through the lymph or blood to other places in the body, another (secondary) tumor may form. This process is called metastasis. The secondary (metastatic) tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if bone cancer spreads to the lung, the cancer cells in the lung are actually bone cancer cells. The disease is metastatic bone cancer, not lung cancer.
Recurrentosteosarcoma and malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH) of bone are cancers that have recurred (come back) after being treated. The cancer may come back in the bone or in other parts of the body. Osteosarcoma and MFH most often recur in the lung, bone, or both. When osteosarcoma recurs, it is usually within 18 months after treatment is completed.
Different types of treatment are available for children with osteosarcoma or malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH) of bone. Some treatments are standard (the currently used treatment), and some are being tested in clinical trials. A treatment clinical trial is a research study meant to help improve current treatments or obtain information on new treatments for patients with cancer. When clinical trials show that a new treatment is better than the standard treatment, the new treatment may become the standard treatment.
Because cancer in children is rare, taking part in a clinical trial should be considered. Some clinical trials are open only to patients who have not started treatment.
Treatment will be overseen by a pediatriconcologist, a doctor who specializes in treating children with cancer. The pediatric oncologist works with other pediatric health care providers who are experts in treating osteosarcoma and MFH and who specialize in certain areas of medicine. These may include the following specialists:
Side effects from cancer treatment that begin during or after treatment and continue for months or years are called late effects. Late effects of cancer treatment may include the following:
Some late effects may be treated or controlled. It is important to talk with your child's doctors about the effects cancer treatment can have on your child. (See the PDQ summary on Late Effects of Treatment for Childhood Cancer for more information).
Surgery to remove the entire tumor will be done when possible. Chemotherapy may be given first, to make the tumor smaller so less tissue and bone needs to be removed. This is called neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
The following types of surgery may be done:
Studies have shown that survival is the same whether the first surgery done is a limb-sparing surgery or an amputation.
Even if the doctor removes all the cancer that can be seen at the time of the surgery, some patients may be given chemotherapy or radiation therapy after surgery to kill any cancer cells that are left. Treatment given after the surgery, to lower the risk that the cancer will come back, is called adjuvant therapy.
Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. When chemotherapy is taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle, the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body (systemic chemotherapy). When chemotherapy is placed directly into the spinal column, an organ, or a body cavity such as the abdomen, the drugs mainly affect cancer cells in those areas (regional chemotherapy). Combination chemotherapy is the use of more than one anticancer drug. The way the chemotherapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.
Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. There are two types of radiation therapy. External radiation therapy uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer. Internal radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters that are placed directly into or near the cancer. The way the radiation therapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.
Osteosarcoma and MFH cells are not killed easily by radiation therapy. It may be used when a small amount of cancer is left after surgery or used together with other treatments.
Samarium is a radioactive drug that targets areas where bone cells are growing, such as tumor cells in bone. It helps relieve pain caused by cancer in the bone and it also kills blood cells in the bone marrow. Before treatment with samarium, stem cells (immature blood cells) are removed from the blood or bone marrow of the patient and are frozen and stored. After treatment with samarium is complete, the stored stem cells are thawed and given back to the patient through an infusion. These reinfused stem cells grow into (and restore) the body's blood cells.
This summary section describes treatments that are being studied in clinical trials. It may not mention every new treatment being studied. Information about ongoing clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.
Biologic therapy is a treatment that uses the patient’s immune system to fight cancer. Substances made by the body or made in a laboratory are used to boost, direct, or restore the body’s natural defenses against cancer. This type of cancer treatment is also called biotherapy or immunotherapy.
For some patients, taking part in a clinical trial may be the best treatment choice. Clinical trials are part of the cancer research process. Clinical trials are done to find out if new cancer treatments are safe and effective or better than the standard treatment.
Many of today's standard treatments for cancer are based on earlier clinical trials. Patients who take part in a clinical trial may receive the standard treatment or be among the first to receive a new treatment.
Patients who take part in clinical trials also help improve the way cancer will be treated in the future. Even when clinical trials do not lead to effective new treatments, they often answer important questions and help move research forward.
Some clinical trials only include patients who have not yet received treatment. Other trials test treatments for patients whose cancer has not gotten better. There are also clinical trials that test new ways to stop cancer from recurring (coming back) or reduce the side effects of cancer treatment.
Clinical trials are taking place in many parts of the country. See the Treatment Options section that follows for links to current treatment clinical trials. These have been retrieved from NCI's clinical trials database.
Some of the tests that were done to diagnose the cancer or to find out the stage of the cancer may be repeated. Some tests will be repeated in order to see how well the treatment is working. Decisions about whether to continue, change, or stop treatment may be based on the results of these tests. This is sometimes called re-staging.
Some of the tests will continue to be done from time to time after treatment has ended. The results of these tests can show if your condition has changed or if the cancer has recurred (come back). These tests are sometimes called follow-up tests or check-ups.
A link to a list of current clinical trials is included for each treatment section. For some types or stages of cancer, there may not be any trials listed. Check with your doctor for clinical trials that are not listed here but may be right for you.
Treatment may include the following:
Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's PDQ Cancer Clinical Trials Registry that are now accepting patients with localized osteosarcoma and localized childhood malignant fibrous histiocytoma of bone. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.
When osteosarcoma or malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH) spread, it usually spreads to the lung. Treatment of osteosarcoma and MFH with lung metastasis is usually chemotherapy followed by surgery to remove the cancer that has spread to the lung.
Bone Metastasis or Bone with Lung Metastasis
Osteosarcoma and malignant fibrous histiocytoma may spread to bone and/or the lung. Treatment may include the following:
Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's PDQ Cancer Clinical Trials Registry that are now accepting patients with metastatic osteosarcoma and metastatic childhood malignant fibrous histiocytoma of bone. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.
Treatment of recurrentosteosarcoma and malignant fibrous histiocytoma of bone may include the following:
Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's PDQ Cancer Clinical Trials Registry that are now accepting patients with recurrent osteosarcoma and recurrent childhood malignant fibrous histiocytoma of bone. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.
For more information from the National Cancer Institute about osteosarcoma and malignant fibrous histiocytoma of bone, see Bone Cancer: Questions and Answers.
For more childhood cancer information and other general cancer resources from the National Cancer Institute, see the following:
This information is provided by the National Cancer Institute.
This information was last updated on December 7, 2009.
Fortunately, cancer in children and adolescents is rare, although the overall incidence of childhood cancer has been slowly increasing since 1975. Children and adolescents with
cancer should be referred to medical centers that have a multidisciplinary team
of cancer specialists with experience treating the cancers that occur during
childhood and adolescence. This multidisciplinary team approach incorporates the skills
of the primary care physician, an orthopedic surgeon experienced in bone
tumors, a pathologist, radiation oncologists, pediatric oncologists,
rehabilitation specialists, pediatric nurse specialists, social workers, and
others to ensure that children receive treatment, supportive care, and
rehabilitation that will achieve optimal survival and quality of life.
(Refer to the PDQ summaries on Supportive and Palliative Care for specific information about supportive care for children and adolescents with cancer.)
Guidelines for pediatric cancer centers and their role in the treatment of
pediatric patients with cancer have been outlined by the American Academy of
Pediatrics. At these pediatric cancer centers, clinical trials are
available for most types of cancer that occur in children and
adolescents, and the opportunity to participate in these trials is offered to
most patients/families. Clinical trials for children and adolescents with
cancer are generally designed to compare potentially better therapy with
therapy that is currently accepted as standard. Most of the progress
made in identifying curative therapies for childhood cancers has been achieved
through clinical trials. Information about ongoing clinical trials is
available from the NCI Web site.
Dramatic improvements in survival have been achieved for children and adolescents with cancer. Between 1975 and 2010, childhood cancer mortality decreased by more than 50%. For osteosarcoma, the 5-year survival rate increased over the same time from 40% to 76% in children younger than 15 years and from 56% to approximately 66% in adolescents aged 15 to 19 years. Childhood and adolescent cancer survivors require close follow-up because cancer therapy side effects may persist or develop months or years after treatment. (Refer to the PDQ summary on Late Effects of Treatment for Childhood Cancer for specific information about the incidence, type, and monitoring of late effects in childhood and adolescent cancer survivors.)
Osteosarcoma occurs predominantly in adolescents and young
adults. Review of data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program of the National Cancer Institute resulted in an estimate of 4.4 cases per 1 million new cases of osteosarcoma each year in people aged 0 to 24 years. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that there will be 110 million people in this age range in 2010, resulting in an incidence of roughly 450 cases per year in children and young adults younger than 25 years. Osteosarcoma accounts for approximately 5% of childhood tumors. In
children and adolescents, more than 50% of these tumors arise from the long bones around the
knee. Osteosarcoma can rarely be observed in soft tissue or visceral organs. There appears to be no difference in presenting symptoms, tumor location, and outcome for younger patients (<12 years) compared with adolescents. Two trials conducted in the 1980s were designed to determine whether chemotherapy altered the natural history of osteosarcoma after surgical removal of the primary tumor. The outcome of patients in these trials who were treated with
surgical removal of the primary tumor recapitulated the historical
experience before 1970; more than half of these patients developed metastases
within 6 months of diagnosis, and overall, approximately 90% developed recurrent
disease within 2 years of diagnosis. Overall survival for patients
treated with surgery alone was statistically inferior. The natural history
of osteosarcoma has not changed over time, and fewer than 20% of patients with
localized resectable primary tumors treated with surgery alone can be expected
to survive free of relapse.; [Level of evidence: 1iiA]
Pretreatment factors that influence outcome include the following:
After administration of preoperative chemotherapy, factors that influence outcome include the following:
In general, prognostic factors in osteosarcoma have not been helpful in identifying patients who might benefit from treatment intensification or who might require less therapy while maintaining an excellent outcome.
The site of the primary tumor is a significant prognostic factor for patients with localized disease. Among extremity tumors, distal sites have a more favorable prognosis than do proximal sites. Axial skeleton primary tumors are associated with the greatest risk of progression and death, primarily related to the inability to achieve a complete surgical resection. Prognostic considerations for the axial skeleton and extraskeletal sites are as follows:
Despite a relatively high rate of inferior necrosis after neoadjuvant chemotherapy, fewer patients with craniofacial primaries develop systemic metastases than do patients with osteosarcoma originating in the extremities. This low rate of metastasis may be related to the relatively smaller size and higher incidence of lower grade tumors in osteosarcoma of the head and neck.
While small series have not shown a benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy for patients with osteosarcoma of the head and neck, one meta-analysis concluded that systemic chemotherapy improves the prognosis for these patients. Another large meta-analysis detected no benefit from chemotherapy for patients with osteosarcoma of the head and neck, but suggested that the incorporation of chemotherapy into treatment of patients with high-grade tumors may improve survival. A retrospective analysis identified a trend toward better survival in patients with high-grade osteosarcoma of the mandible and maxilla who received adjuvant chemotherapy.
Radiation therapy was found to improve local control, disease-specific survival, and overall survival in a retrospective study of osteosarcoma of the craniofacial bones that had positive or uncertain margins after surgical resection.[Level of evidence: 3iiA] Radiation-associated craniofacial osteosarcomas are generally high-grade lesions, usually fibroblastic, that tend to recur locally with a high rate of metastasis.
In the German series, approximately 25% of patients with craniofacial osteosarcoma had osteosarcoma as a second tumor, and in 8 of these 13 patients, osteosarcoma arose following treatment for retinoblastoma. In this series, there was no difference in outcome for primary or secondary craniofacial osteosarcoma.
Larger tumors have a worse prognosis than smaller tumors. Tumor size has been assessed by the longest single dimension, by the cross-sectional area, or by an estimate of tumor volume; all have correlated with outcome. Serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), which also correlates with outcome, is a likely surrogate for tumor volume.
Patients with localized disease have a much better prognosis than do patients with overt metastatic disease. As many as 20% of patients will have radiographically detectable metastases at diagnosis, with the lung being the most common site. The prognosis for patients with metastatic disease appears to be determined largely by the site(s), the number of metastases, and the surgical resectability of the metastatic disease.
Patients with multifocal osteosarcoma (defined as multiple bone lesions without a clear primary tumor) have an extremely poor prognosis.
Resectability of the tumor is a critical prognostic feature because osteosarcoma is relatively resistant to radiation therapy. Complete resection of the primary tumor and any skip lesions with adequate margins is generally considered essential for cure. A retrospective review of patients with craniofacial osteosarcoma performed by the German-Austrian-Swiss osteosarcoma cooperative group reported that incomplete surgical resection was associated with inferior survival probability.[Level of evidence: 3iiB] In a European cooperative study, the size of the margin was not significant. However, having both the biopsy and resection at a center with orthopedic oncology experience conferred a better prognosis.
For patients with axial skeletal primaries who either do not have surgery for their primary tumor or who have surgery that results in positive margins, radiation therapy may improve survival.
Most treatment protocols for osteosarcoma use an initial period of systemic chemotherapy before definitive resection of the primary tumor (or resection of sites of metastases). The pathologist assesses necrosis in the resected tumor. Patients with at least 90% necrosis in the primary tumor after induction chemotherapy have a better prognosis than those with less necrosis. Patients with less necrosis (<90%) in the primary tumor following initial chemotherapy have a higher rate of recurrence within the first 2 years compared with patients with a more favorable amount of necrosis (≥90%). Less necrosis should not be interpreted to mean that chemotherapy has been ineffective; cure rates for patients with little or no necrosis following induction chemotherapy are much higher than cure rates for patients who receive no chemotherapy.
Imaging modalities such as dynamic magnetic resonance imaging or positron emission tomography scanning are under investigation as noninvasive methods to assess response.
Other prognostic factors include the following:
Pathologic fracture at diagnosis or during preoperative chemotherapy does not have adverse prognostic significance.; [Level of evidence: 3iiiA]
The following potential prognostic factors have been identified but have not been tested in large numbers of patients:
Rare inherited disorder characterized by short stature and sun-sensitive skin changes. Often presents with a long, narrow face, small lower jaw, large nose, and prominent ears.
Diamond-Blackfan anemia 
Inherited pure red cell aplasia. Patients at risk for MDS and AML. Associated with skeletal abnormalities, such as abnormal facial features (flat nasal bridge, widely spaced eyes).
Ribosome production 
Li-Fraumeni syndrome 
Inherited mutation in TP53 gene. Affected family members at increased risk for bone tumors, breast cancer, leukemia, brain tumors, and sarcomas.
DNA damage response
Excessive breakdown of bone with abnormal bone formation and remodeling, resulting in pain from weak, malformed bone.
IL-1/TNF signaling; RANK signaling pathway
Malignant tumor of the retina. Approximately 66% diagnosed by age 2 years and 95% by age 3 years. Patients with heritable germ cell mutations at greater risk for subsequent neoplasms.
Rothmund-Thomson syndrome 
Also called poikiloderma congenitale. Autosomal recessive condition. Associated with skin findings (atrophy, telangiectasias, pigmentation), sparse hair, cataracts, small stature, and skeletal abnormalities. Increased incidence of osteosarcoma at a younger age.
Patients often have short stature and in their early twenties, develop signs of aging, including graying of hair and hardening of skin. Other aging problems such as cataracts, skin ulcers, and atherosclerosis develop later.
DNA helicase; exonuclease activity
AML = acute myeloid leukemia; IL-1 = interleukin-1; MDS = myelodysplastic syndrome; TNF = tumor necrosis factor.
aTable adapted from Kansara and Thomas.
Refer to the following summaries for more information about these genetic syndromes:
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Gorlick R, Huvos AG, Heller G, et al.: Expression of HER2/erbB-2 correlates with survival in osteosarcoma. J Clin Oncol 17 (9): 2781-8, 1999.
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Kilpatrick SE, Geisinger KR, King TS, et al.: Clinicopathologic analysis of HER-2/neu immunoexpression among various histologic subtypes and grades of osteosarcoma. Mod Pathol 14 (12): 1277-83, 2001.
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Heinsohn S, Evermann U, Zur Stadt U, et al.: Determination of the prognostic value of loss of heterozygosity at the retinoblastoma gene in osteosarcoma. Int J Oncol 30 (5): 1205-14, 2007.
Goto A, Kanda H, Ishikawa Y, et al.: Association of loss of heterozygosity at the p53 locus with chemoresistance in osteosarcomas. Jpn J Cancer Res 89 (5): 539-47, 1998.
Serra M, Pasello M, Manara MC, et al.: May P-glycoprotein status be used to stratify high-grade osteosarcoma patients? Results from the Italian/Scandinavian Sarcoma Group 1 treatment protocol. Int J Oncol 29 (6): 1459-68, 2006.
Pakos EE, Ioannidis JP: The association of P-glycoprotein with response to chemotherapy and clinical outcome in patients with osteosarcoma. A meta-analysis. Cancer 98 (3): 581-9, 2003.
Schwartz CL, Gorlick R, Teot L, et al.: Multiple drug resistance in osteogenic sarcoma: INT0133 from the Children's Oncology Group. J Clin Oncol 25 (15): 2057-62, 2007.
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Kansara M, Thomas DM: Molecular pathogenesis of osteosarcoma. DNA Cell Biol 26 (1): 1-18, 2007.
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Lipton JM, Federman N, Khabbaze Y, et al.: Osteogenic sarcoma associated with Diamond-Blackfan anemia: a report from the Diamond-Blackfan Anemia Registry. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol 23 (1): 39-44, 2001.
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Hicks MJ, Roth JR, Kozinetz CA, et al.: Clinicopathologic features of osteosarcoma in patients with Rothmund-Thomson syndrome. J Clin Oncol 25 (4): 370-5, 2007.
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Osteosarcoma is a malignant tumor that is
characterized by the direct formation of bone or osteoid tissue by the tumor
cells. The World Health Organization’s histologic classification  of bone
tumors separates the osteosarcomas into central (medullary) and surface
(peripheral)  tumors and recognizes a number of subtypes within each group.
The most common pathologic subtype is conventional central osteosarcoma, which
is characterized by areas of necrosis, atypical mitoses, and malignant
osteoid tissue and/or cartilage. The other subtypes are much less common, each occurring at a
frequency of less than 5%. Telangiectatic osteosarcoma may be confused
radiographically with an aneurysmal bone cyst or giant cell tumor. This
variant should be approached as a conventional osteosarcoma.
Malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH) of bone is treated according to
osteosarcoma treatment protocols. MFH should be distinguished from angiomatoid fibrous histiocytoma, a low-grade tumor that is usually noninvasive, small, and associated with an excellent outcome with surgery alone. One study suggests similar event-free survival rates for MFH and osteosarcoma.
Extraosseous osteosarcoma is a malignant mesenchymal neoplasm without direct attachment to the skeletal system. Previously, treatment for extraosseous osteosarcoma followed soft tissue sarcoma guidelines, although a retrospective analysis of the German Cooperative Osteosarcoma Study identified a favorable outcome for extraosseous osteosarcoma treated with surgery and conventional osteosarcoma therapy.
Schajowicz F, Sissons HA, Sobin LH: The World Health Organization's histologic classification of bone tumors. A commentary on the second edition. Cancer 75 (5): 1208-14, 1995.
Antonescu CR, Huvos AG: Low-grade osteogenic sarcoma arising in medullary and surface osseous locations. Am J Clin Pathol 114 (Suppl): S90-103, 2000.
Kaste SC, Fuller CE, Saharia A, et al.: Pediatric surface osteosarcoma: clinical, pathologic, and radiologic features. Pediatr Blood Cancer 47 (2): 152-62, 2006.
Bacci G, Ferrari S, Ruggieri P, et al.: Telangiectatic osteosarcoma of the extremity: neoadjuvant chemotherapy in 24 cases. Acta Orthop Scand 72 (2): 167-72, 2001.
Weiss A, Khoury JD, Hoffer FA, et al.: Telangiectatic osteosarcoma: the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital's experience. Cancer 109 (8): 1627-37, 2007.
Hoshi M, Matsumoto S, Manabe J, et al.: Oncologic outcome of parosteal osteosarcoma. Int J Clin Oncol 11 (2): 120-6, 2006.
Han I, Oh JH, Na YG, et al.: Clinical outcome of parosteal osteosarcoma. J Surg Oncol 97 (2): 146-9, 2008.
Rose PS, Dickey ID, Wenger DE, et al.: Periosteal osteosarcoma: long-term outcome and risk of late recurrence. Clin Orthop Relat Res 453: 314-7, 2006.
Grimer RJ, Bielack S, Flege S, et al.: Periosteal osteosarcoma--a European review of outcome. Eur J Cancer 41 (18): 2806-11, 2005.
Cesari M, Alberghini M, Vanel D, et al.: Periosteal osteosarcoma: a single-institution experience. Cancer 117 (8): 1731-5, 2011.
Okada K, Unni KK, Swee RG, et al.: High grade surface osteosarcoma: a clinicopathologic study of 46 cases. Cancer 85 (5): 1044-54, 1999.
Staals EL, Bacchini P, Bertoni F: High-grade surface osteosarcoma: a review of 25 cases from the Rizzoli Institute. Cancer 112 (7): 1592-9, 2008.
Picci P, Bacci G, Ferrari S, et al.: Neoadjuvant chemotherapy in malignant fibrous histiocytoma of bone and in osteosarcoma located in the extremities: analogies and differences between the two tumors. Ann Oncol 8 (11): 1107-15, 1997.
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Wodowski K, Hill DA, Pappo AS, et al.: A chemosensitive pediatric extraosseous osteosarcoma: case report and review of the literature. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol 25 (1): 73-7, 2003.
Historically, the Enneking staging system for skeletal malignancies was widely used. This system inferred the aggressiveness of the primary tumor by the descriptors intracompartmental or extracompartmental. The American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) staging system for malignant bone tumors has updated this staging system, substituting compartmentalization with size (refer to Table 2). The AJCC classification is as follows:
Any tumor grade, skip metastasesb
Any tumor grade, any tumor size, distant metastases
aReprinted with permission from AJCC: Bone. In: Edge SB, Byrd DR, Compton CC, et al., eds.: AJCC Cancer Staging Manual. 7th ed. New York, NY: Springer, 2010, pp 281-90.
bSkip metastases: discontinuous tumors in the primary bone site.
For the purposes of treatment, there are only two stages of high-grade osteosarcoma. Patients without clinically detectable metastatic disease are considered to have localized osteosarcoma. Patients in whom it is possible to detect any site of metastasis at the time of initial presentation by routine clinical studies are considered to have metastatic osteosarcoma.
For patients with confirmed osteosarcoma, in addition to plain x-rays of the primary site that include a single plane view of the entire affected extremity to assess for skip metastasis, pretreatment staging studies should include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and/or computed tomography (CT) scan of the primary site or entire extremity. Additional pretreatment staging studies should include bone scan, postero-anterior and lateral chest x-ray, and CT scan of the chest. Positron emission tomography (PET) using fluorine-18-fluorodeoxyglucose is an optional staging modality.
Localized tumors are limited to the bone of origin. Patients with skip lesions confined to the bone that includes the primary tumor are considered to have localized disease if the skip lesions can be included in the planned surgical resection. Approximately one-half of the tumors arise in the femur; of these, 80% are in the distal femur. Other primary sites in
descending order of frequency are the proximal tibia, proximal humerus, pelvis, jaw, fibula, and
Compared with osteosarcoma of the appendicular skeleton, osteosarcoma of the head and neck is more likely to be low grade  and to arise in older patients.
Radiologic evidence of metastatic tumor deposits in the lungs, other bones, or other
distant sites is found in approximately 20% of patients at diagnosis, with 85% to 90% of
metastatic disease presenting in the lungs. The second most common site of metastasis
is another bone. Metastasis to other bones may be solitary or multiple. The syndrome of multifocal osteosarcoma refers to a presentation with multiple foci of osteosarcoma without a clear primary tumor, often with symmetrical metaphyseal involvement. Multifocal osteosarcoma has an
extremely grave prognosis.
Enneking WF: A system of staging musculoskeletal neoplasms. Clin Orthop Relat Res (204): 9-24, 1986.
Edge SB, Byrd DR, Compton CC, et al., eds.: Bone. In: Edge SB, Byrd DR, Compton CC, et al., eds.: AJCC Cancer Staging Manual. 7th ed. New York, NY: Springer, 2010, pp 281-90.
Meyer JS, Nadel HR, Marina N, et al.: Imaging guidelines for children with Ewing sarcoma and osteosarcoma: a report from the Children's Oncology Group Bone Tumor Committee. Pediatr Blood Cancer 51 (2): 163-70, 2008.
Longhi A, Fabbri N, Donati D, et al.: Neoadjuvant chemotherapy for patients with synchronous multifocal osteosarcoma: results in eleven cases. J Chemother 13 (3): 324-30, 2001.
Successful treatment generally requires the combination of effective systemic chemotherapy and complete resection of all clinically detectable disease. Protective weight bearing is recommended for patients with tumors of weight-bearing bones to prevent pathological fractures that could preclude limb-preserving surgery.
Randomized clinical trials have established that both neoadjuvant and adjuvant
chemotherapy are effective in preventing relapse in patients with clinically nonmetastatic tumors.; [Level of evidence: 1iiA] The Pediatric Oncology Group conducted a study in which patients were randomly assigned to either immediate amputation or amputation after neoadjuvant therapy. A large percentage of patients declined to be assigned randomly, and the study was terminated without approaching the stated accrual goals. In the small number of patients treated, there was no difference in outcome for those who received preoperative versus postoperative chemotherapy. It is imperative that patients with proven or suspected
osteosarcoma have an initial evaluation by an orthopedic oncologist familiar
with the surgical management of this disease. This evaluation, which includes imaging studies, should be done
before the initial biopsy, because an inappropriately performed biopsy may
jeopardize a limb-sparing procedure.
intraosseous well-differentiated osteosarcoma and parosteal osteosarcoma is
important because these are associated with the most favorable prognosis and
can be treated successfully with wide excision of the primary tumor alone. Periosteal osteosarcoma has a generally good prognosis  and treatment is
guided by histologic grade.
Goorin AM, Schwartzentruber DJ, Devidas M, et al.: Presurgical chemotherapy compared with immediate surgery and adjuvant chemotherapy for nonmetastatic osteosarcoma: Pediatric Oncology Group Study POG-8651. J Clin Oncol 21 (8): 1574-80, 2003.
Schwab JH, Antonescu CR, Athanasian EA, et al.: A comparison of intramedullary and juxtacortical low-grade osteogenic sarcoma. Clin Orthop Relat Res 466 (6): 1318-22, 2008.
Patients with localized osteosarcoma undergoing surgery and chemotherapy have a 5-year overall survival (OS) of 62% to 65%. Complete surgical resection is crucial for patients with localized osteosarcoma; however, at least 80% of patients treated with surgery alone will develop metastatic disease. Randomized clinical trials have established that adjuvant chemotherapy is
effective in preventing relapse or recurrence in patients with localized
resectable primary tumors.; [Level of evidence: 1iiA]
Patients with malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH) of bone are treated according to osteosarcoma treatment protocols, and the outcome for patients with resectable MFH is similar to the outcome for patients with osteosarcoma. As with osteosarcoma, patients with a favorable necrosis (≥90% necrosis) had a longer survival than those with an inferior necrosis (<90% necrosis). MFH of bone is seen more commonly in older adults. Many patients with MFH will need preoperative chemotherapy to achieve a wide local excision.
The diagnosis of osteosarcoma can be made by needle biopsy, core needle biopsy, or open surgical biopsy. It is preferable that the biopsy be done by a surgeon skilled in the techniques of limb sparing (removal of the malignant bone tumor without amputation and replacement of bones or joints with allografts or prosthetic devices). In these cases, the original biopsy incision placement is crucial. Inappropriate alignment of the biopsy or inadvertent contamination of soft tissues can render subsequent limb-preserving reconstructive surgery impossible.
Surgical resection of the primary tumor with adequate margins is an essential component of the curative strategy for patients with localized osteosarcoma. The type of surgery required for complete ablation of the primary tumor depends on a number of factors that must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
In general, more than 80% of patients with extremity osteosarcoma can be treated by a limb-sparing procedure and do not require amputation. Limb-sparing procedures are planned only when the preoperative staging indicates that it would be possible to achieve wide surgical margins. In one study, patients undergoing limb-salvage procedures who had poor histologic response and close surgical margins had a high rate of local recurrence. Reconstruction after surgery can be accomplished with many options including metallic endoprosthesis, allograft, vascularized autologous bone graft, and rotationplasty. The choice of optimal surgical reconstruction involves many factors, including the site and size of the primary tumor, the ability to preserve the neurovascular supply of the distal extremity, the age of the patient and potential for additional growth, and the needs and desires of the patient and family for specific function, such as sports participation. If a complicated reconstruction delays or prohibits the resumption of systemic chemotherapy, limb preservation may endanger the chance for cure. Retrospective analyses have shown that delay (≥ 21 days) in resumption of chemotherapy after definitive surgery is associated with increased risk of tumor recurrence and death.[Level of evidence: 1iiA]
For some patients, amputation remains the optimal choice for management of the primary tumor. A pathologic fracture noted at diagnosis or during preoperative chemotherapy does not preclude limb-salvage surgery if wide surgical margins can be achieved. In two series, patients presenting with a pathologic fracture at diagnosis had similar outcomes to patients without pathologic fractures at diagnosis, while in a third series, pathologic fracture at diagnosis was associated with a worse overall outcome.; [Level of evidence: 3iiiA] If the pathologic examination of the surgical specimen shows inadequate margins, an immediate amputation should be considered, especially if the histologic necrosis after preoperative chemotherapy was poor.
The German Cooperative Osteosarcoma Study performed a retrospective analysis of 1,802 patients with localized and metastatic osteosarcoma who underwent surgical resection of all clinically detectable disease.[Level of evidence: 3iiA] Local recurrence (n = 76) was associated with a high risk of death from osteosarcoma. Factors associated with an increased risk of local recurrence included nonparticipation in a clinical trial, pelvic primary site, limb-preserving surgery, soft tissue infiltration beyond the periosteum, poor pathologic response to initial chemotherapy, failure to complete planned chemotherapy, and performance of the biopsy at an institution different from the institution performing definitive surgery.
Not surprisingly, patients who undergo amputation have lower local recurrence rates than do patients who undergo limb-salvage procedures. There is no difference in OS between patients initially treated with amputation and those treated with a limb-sparing procedure.
Patients with tumors of the femur have a higher local recurrence rate than do patients with primary tumors of the tibia/fibula. Rotationplasty and other limb-salvage procedures have been evaluated for both their functional outcome and their effect on survival. While limb-sparing resection is the current practice for local control at most pediatric institutions, there are few data to indicate that salvage of the lower limb is substantially superior to amputation with regard to patient quality of life.
If complete surgical resection is not feasible or if surgical margins are inadequate, radiation therapy (RT) may improve the local control rate.; [Level of evidence: 3iiA] While it is accepted that the standard approach is primary surgical resection, a retrospective analysis of a small group of highly selective patients reported long-term event-free survival with external-beam RT for local control in some patients.[Level of evidence: 3iiiA] RT should be considered in patients with osteosarcoma of the head and neck who have positive or uncertain resection margins.[Level of evidence: 3iiA]
Almost all patients receive intravenous preoperative chemotherapy as initial treatment. However, a specific standard chemotherapy regimen has not been determined. Current chemotherapy protocols
include combinations of the following agents: high-dose methotrexate,
doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, cisplatin, ifosfamide, etoposide, and
carboplatin. A meta-analysis of protocols for the treatment of osteosarcoma concluded that regimens containing three active chemotherapy agents were superior to regimens containing two active agents. The same meta-analysis concluded that regimens with four active agents were not superior to regimens with three active agents. The meta-analysis suggested that three-drug regimens that did not include high-dose methotrexate were inferior to three-drug regimens that did include high-dose methotrexate.
In certain trials, extent of tumor necrosis is used to determine postoperative chemotherapy. In general, if tumor necrosis exceeds 90%, the preoperative chemotherapy regimen is continued. If tumor necrosis is less than 90%, some groups have incorporated drugs not previously utilized in the preoperative therapy. This approach is based on early reports from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) that suggested that adding cisplatin to postoperative chemotherapy improved the outcome for patients with less than 90% tumor necrosis. With longer follow-up, the outcome for patients with less than 90% tumor necrosis treated at MSKCC was the same whether they did or did not receive cisplatin in the postoperative phase of treatment. Subsequent trials performed by other groups have failed to demonstrate improved event-free survival (EFS) when drugs not included in the preoperative regimen were added to postoperative therapy.
The Children's Oncology Group performed a prospective randomized trial in newly diagnosed children and young adults with localized osteosarcoma. All patients received cisplatin, doxorubicin, and high-dose methotrexate. One-half of the patients were randomly assigned to receive ifosfamide. In a second randomization, one-half of the patients were assigned to receive the biological compound muramyl tripeptide-phosphatidyl ethanolamine encapsulated in liposomes (L-MTP-PE) beginning after definitive surgical resection. The addition of ifosfamide did not improve outcome. The addition of L-MTP-PE produced improvement in EFS, which did not meet the conventional test for statistical significance (P = .08), and a significant improvement in OS (78% vs. 70%; P = .03).[Level of evidence: 1iiA] There has been speculation regarding the potential contribution of postrelapse treatment, although there were no differences in the postrelapse surgical approaches in the relapsed patients. The appropriate role of L-MTP-PE in the treatment of osteosarcoma remains under discussion.
The degree of necrosis observed in the primary tumor after an initial period of chemotherapy correlates with subsequent EFS and OS. An international consortium (European and American Osteosarcoma Study Group) was formed to conduct a large prospective randomized trial. All patients received initial therapy with cisplatin, doxorubicin, and high-dose methotrexate. Patients with more than 90% necrosis were randomly assigned to continue the same chemotherapy after surgery or to receive the same chemotherapy with the addition of interferon. The addition of interferon did not improve the probability of EFS. Patients with less than 90% necrosis were randomly assigned to continue the same chemotherapy or to recieve the same chemotherapy with the addition of high-dose ifosfamide and etoposide. The results of the randomization for these patients is not yet available.
The Italian Sarcoma Group and the Scandinavian Sarcoma Group performed a clinical trial in patients with osteosarcoma who presented with clinically detectable metastatic disease. Consolidation with high-dose etoposide and carboplatin followed by autologous stem cell reconstitution did not appear to improve outcome and the investigators do not recommend this strategy for the treatment of osteosarcoma.
Osteosarcoma of the head and neck occurs in an older population compared with osteosarcoma of the extremities. In the pediatric age group, osteosarcomas of the head and neck are more likely to be low or intermediate grade than are tumors of the extremities. All reported series stress the need for complete surgical resection.[Level of evidence: 3iiiA] Osteosarcoma of the head and neck has a higher risk for local recurrence and a lower risk for distant metastasis than osteosarcoma of the extremities. The probability for cure with surgery alone is higher for osteosarcoma of the head and neck than it is for extremity osteosarcoma. Primary sites in the mandible and maxilla are associated with a better prognosis than are other primary sites in the head and neck. When surgical margins are positive, there is a trend for improved survival with adjuvant radiation therapy.[Level of evidence: 3iiiA] There are no randomized trials to assess the benefit of chemotherapy in osteosarcoma of the head and neck, but several series suggest a benefit. Chemotherapy should be considered for younger patients with high-grade osteosarcoma of the head and neck.
Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with localized osteosarcoma and localized childhood malignant fibrous histiocytoma of bone. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.
General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.
Bramwell VH, Steward WP, Nooij M, et al.: Neoadjuvant chemotherapy with doxorubicin and cisplatin in malignant fibrous histiocytoma of bone: A European Osteosarcoma Intergroup study. J Clin Oncol 17 (10): 3260-9, 1999.
Grimer RJ: Surgical options for children with osteosarcoma. Lancet Oncol 6 (2): 85-92, 2005.
Bacci G, Ferrari S, Bertoni F, et al.: Long-term outcome for patients with nonmetastatic osteosarcoma of the extremity treated at the istituto ortopedico rizzoli according to the istituto ortopedico rizzoli/osteosarcoma-2 protocol: an updated report. J Clin Oncol 18 (24): 4016-27, 2000.
Grimer RJ, Taminiau AM, Cannon SR, et al.: Surgical outcomes in osteosarcoma. J Bone Joint Surg Br 84 (3): 395-400, 2002.
Scully SP, Ghert MA, Zurakowski D, et al.: Pathologic fracture in osteosarcoma : prognostic importance and treatment implications. J Bone Joint Surg Am 84-A (1): 49-57, 2002.
Bramer JA, Abudu AA, Grimer RJ, et al.: Do pathological fractures influence survival and local recurrence rate in bony sarcomas? Eur J Cancer 43 (13): 1944-51, 2007.
Bacci G, Ferrari S, Lari S, et al.: Osteosarcoma of the limb. Amputation or limb salvage in patients treated by neoadjuvant chemotherapy. J Bone Joint Surg Br 84 (1): 88-92, 2002.
Ciernik IF, Niemierko A, Harmon DC, et al.: Proton-based radiotherapy for unresectable or incompletely resected osteosarcoma. Cancer 117 (19): 4522-30, 2011.
Hundsdoerfer P, Albrecht M, Rühl U, et al.: Long-term outcome after polychemotherapy and intensive local radiation therapy of high-grade osteosarcoma. Eur J Cancer 45 (14): 2447-51, 2009.
Fuchs N, Bielack SS, Epler D, et al.: Long-term results of the co-operative German-Austrian-Swiss osteosarcoma study group's protocol COSS-86 of intensive multidrug chemotherapy and surgery for osteosarcoma of the limbs. Ann Oncol 9 (8): 893-9, 1998.
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Approximately 20% to 25% of patients with osteosarcoma present with clinically detectable metastatic disease. For patients with metastatic disease at initial presentation, roughly 20% will remain continuously free of disease, and roughly 30% will survive 5 years from diagnosis.
The lung is the most common site of initial metastatic disease. Patients with metastases limited to the lungs have a better outcome than do patients with metastases to other sites or to the lungs combined with other sites.
The chemotherapeutic agents used include high-dose methotrexate, doxorubicin, cisplatin, high-dose ifosfamide, etoposide, and in some reports, carboplatin or cyclophosphamide. High-dose ifosfamide (17.5 grams per course) in combination with etoposide produced a complete (10%) or partial (49%) response in patients with newly diagnosed metastatic osteosarcoma. The addition of either muramyl tripeptide or ifosfamide to a standard chemotherapy regimen that included cisplatin, high-dose methotrexate, and doxorubicin was evaluated using a factorial design in patients with metastatic osteosarcoma (n = 91). There was a nominal advantage for the addition of muramyl tripeptide (but not for ifosfamide) in terms of event-free survival (EFS) and overall survival (OS), but criteria for statistical significance were not met.
The treatment for malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH) of bone with metastasis at initial presentation is the same as the treatment for osteosarcoma with metastasis. Patients with unresectable or metastatic MFH have a very poor outcome.
Patients with metastatic lung lesions as the sole site of metastatic disease should have the lung lesions resected if possible. Generally, this is done after administration of preoperative chemotherapy. In approximately 10% of patients, all lung lesions disappear after preoperative chemotherapy. Complete resection of pulmonary metastatic disease can be achieved in a high percentage of patients with residual lung nodules after preoperative chemotherapy. The cure rate is essentially zero without complete resection of residual pulmonary metastatic lesions.
For patients who present with primary osteosarcoma and metastases limited to the lungs and who achieve complete surgical remission, 5-year EFS is approximately 20% to 25%. Multiple metastatic nodules confer a worse prognosis than do one or two nodules, and bilateral lung involvement is worse than unilateral. Patients with peripheral lesions may have a better prognosis than do patients with central lesions. Patients with fewer than three nodules confined to one lung may achieve a 5-year EFS of approximately 40% to 50%.
The second most common site of metastasis is another bone that is distant from the primary tumor. Patients with metastasis to other bones distant from the primary tumor experience roughly 10% EFS and OS. In the Italian experience, of the patients who presented with primary extremity tumors and synchronous metastasis to other bones, only 3 of 46 patients remained continuously disease-free 5 years later. Patients who have transarticular skip lesions have a poor prognosis.
Multifocal osteosarcoma is different from osteosarcoma that presents with a clearly delineated primary lesion and limited bone metastasis. Multifocal osteosarcoma classically presents with symmetrical, metaphyseal lesions, and it may be difficult to determine the primary lesion. Patients with multifocal bone disease at presentation have an extremely poor prognosis. No patient with synchronous multifocal osteosarcoma has ever been reported to be cured, but systemic chemotherapy and aggressive surgical resection may achieve significant prolongation of life.
When the usual treatment course of preoperative chemotherapy followed by surgical ablation of the primary tumor and resection of all overt metastatic disease (usually lungs) followed by postoperative combination chemotherapy cannot be used, an alternative treatment approach may be used. This alternative treatment approach begins with surgery for the primary tumor, followed by chemotherapy, and then surgical resection of metastatic disease (usually lungs). This alternative approach may be appropriate in patients with intractable pain, pathologic fracture, or uncontrolled infection of the tumor when initiation of chemotherapy could create risk of sepsis.
Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with metastatic osteosarcoma and metastatic childhood malignant fibrous histiocytoma of bone. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.
Kager L, Zoubek A, Pötschger U, et al.: Primary metastatic osteosarcoma: presentation and outcome of patients treated on neoadjuvant Cooperative Osteosarcoma Study Group protocols. J Clin Oncol 21 (10): 2011-8, 2003.
Kempf-Bielack B, Bielack SS, Jürgens H, et al.: Osteosarcoma relapse after combined modality therapy: an analysis of unselected patients in the Cooperative Osteosarcoma Study Group (COSS). J Clin Oncol 23 (3): 559-68, 2005.
Goorin AM, Harris MB, Bernstein M, et al.: Phase II/III trial of etoposide and high-dose ifosfamide in newly diagnosed metastatic osteosarcoma: a pediatric oncology group trial. J Clin Oncol 20 (2): 426-33, 2002.
Chou AJ, Kleinerman ES, Krailo MD, et al.: Addition of muramyl tripeptide to chemotherapy for patients with newly diagnosed metastatic osteosarcoma: a report from the Children's Oncology Group. Cancer 115 (22): 5339-48, 2009.
Letourneau PA, Xiao L, Harting MT, et al.: Location of pulmonary metastasis in pediatric osteosarcoma is predictive of outcome. J Pediatr Surg 46 (7): 1333-7, 2011.
Approximately 50% of relapses occur within 18 months of therapy termination, and only 5% of recurrences develop beyond 5 years. In 564 patients with a recurrence, patients whose disease recurred within 2 years of diagnosis had a worse prognosis than did patients whose disease recurred after 2 years. Patients with a good histologic response to initial preoperative chemotherapy had a better overall survival (OS) after recurrence than did poor responders. The probability of developing lung metastases at 5 years is 28% in patients presenting with localized disease. In two large series, the incidence of recurrence by site was as follows: lung only (65%–80%), bone only (8%–10%), local recurrence only (4%–7%), and combined relapse (10%–15%). Abdominal metastases are rare but may occur as late as 4 years after diagnosis.
Patients with recurrent
osteosarcoma should be assessed for surgical
resectability, because they may sometimes be cured with aggressive surgical
resection with or without chemotherapy. Control of osteosarcoma after recurrence depends on complete surgical resection of all sites of clinically detectable metastatic disease. If surgical resection is not attempted or cannot be performed, progression and death are certain. The ability to achieve a complete
resection of recurrent disease is the most important prognostic factor at first
relapse, with a 5-year survival rate of 20% to 45% after complete
resection of metastatic pulmonary tumors and a 20% survival rate after complete resection of metastases at other sites.
The role of systemic chemotherapy for the treatment of patients with recurrent osteosarcoma is not well defined. The selection of further systemic treatment
depends on many factors, including the site of recurrence, the patient’s
previous primary treatment, and individual patient considerations. Ifosfamide
alone with mesna uroprotection, or in combination with etoposide, has been active in as many as one-third of patients with recurrent osteosarcoma who have
not previously received this drug. Cyclophosphamide and etoposide are active in recurrent osteosarcoma, as is the combination of gemcitabine and docetaxel. The Italian Sarcoma Group reported rare objective responses and disease stabilization with sorafenib in patients with recurrent osteosarcoma. Peripheral blood stem cell
transplant utilizing high-dose chemotherapy does not appear to improve
outcome. High-dose samarium-153-ethylenediamine tetramethylene phosphonic acid (EDTMP) coupled with peripheral blood stem
cell support may provide significant pain palliation in patients with bone
metastases. Toxicity of samarium-153-EDTMP is primarily hematologic.[Level of evidence: 3iiDiii]
Repeated resections of pulmonary recurrences can lead to extended disease control and possibly cure for some patients. Survival for patients with unresectable metastatic disease is less than 5%. Five-year event free survival (EFS) for patients who have complete surgical resection of all pulmonary metastases ranges from 20% to 45%.; [Level of evidence: 3iiiA] Factors that suggest a
better outcome include fewer pulmonary nodules, unilateral pulmonary
metastases, longer intervals between primary tumor resection and
metastases, and tumor location in the periphery of the lung.
Resection of metastatic disease followed by observation alone results in low OS and disease-free survival. A high percentage of patients with pulmonary nodules identified in only one lung who underwent staged bilateral thoracotomy were found to have palpable nodules in both lungs that were not visualized on a computed tomography (CT) scan. This suggests that patients with unilateral nodules may benefit from bilateral exploration. A retrospective review of 16 patients who relapsed with single pulmonary metastases on CT scan more than 2 months after therapy showed that no further metastases were found on unilateral thoracotomy, implying that thoracoscopic removal may be adequate to remove all disease in this relatively unusual circumstance (13.9% of patients relapsing in the lung after therapy). There are conflicting recommendations regarding the need for formal thoracotomy for treatment of pulmonary metastases in osteosarcoma. The St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital results suggest that thoracoscopy without exploration of the entire ipsilateral lung is adequate therapy for isolated first pulmonary recurrence more than 2 months from completion of initial planned therapy. The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center results suggest that additional nodules will be found in either the ipsilateral or the contralateral lung in patients with pulmonary metastases. The latter experience included both patients with metastases at initial presentation and patients with metastatic recurrence.
Patients with osteosarcoma who develop bone metastases have a poor prognosis. In one large series, the 5-year EFS rate was 11%. Patients with late solitary bone relapse have a 5-year EFS rate of approximately 30%. For patients with multiple unresectable bone lesions, samarium-153-EDTMP with or without stem cell support may produce stable disease and/or relief of pain.
The postrelapse outcome of
patients who have a local recurrence is quite poor.
Two retrospective, single-institution series reported 10% to 40% survival following local recurrence without associated systemic metastasis. Survival of patients with local recurrence and either previous or concurrent systemic metastases is poor. The incidence of local relapse was higher
in patients who had a poor pathologic response to
chemotherapy in the primary tumor and in patients with inadequate surgical margins.
The Cooperative Osteosarcoma Study group reported on 249 patients who had a second recurrence of osteosarcoma. The main feature of therapy was repeated surgical resection of recurrent disease. Of these patients, 197 died, 37 were alive in complete remission (24 after a third complete response and 13 after a fourth or subsequent complete response). Fifteen patients who did not achieve surgical remission remain alive, but follow-up for these patients was extremely short.
The following is an example of a national and/or institutional clinical trial that is currently being conducted. Information about ongoing clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.
Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with recurrent osteosarcoma and recurrent childhood malignant fibrous histiocytoma of bone. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.
Gelderblom H, Jinks RC, Sydes M, et al.: Survival after recurrent osteosarcoma: data from 3 European Osteosarcoma Intergroup (EOI) randomized controlled trials. Eur J Cancer 47 (6): 895-902, 2011.
Hauben EI, Bielack S, Grimer R, et al.: Clinico-histologic parameters of osteosarcoma patients with late relapse. Eur J Cancer 42 (4): 460-6, 2006.
Ferrari S, Briccoli A, Mercuri M, et al.: Late relapse in osteosarcoma. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol 28 (7): 418-22, 2006.
Aljubran AH, Griffin A, Pintilie M, et al.: Osteosarcoma in adolescents and adults: survival analysis with and without lung metastases. Ann Oncol 20 (6): 1136-41, 2009.
Bacci G, Briccoli A, Longhi A, et al.: Treatment and outcome of recurrent osteosarcoma: experience at Rizzoli in 235 patients initially treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Acta Oncol 44 (7): 748-55, 2005.
Rejin K, Aykan OA, Omer G, et al.: Intra-abdominal metastasis in osteosarcoma: survey and literature review. Pediatr Hematol Oncol 28 (7): 609-15, 2011.
Harting MT, Blakely ML: Management of osteosarcoma pulmonary metastases. Semin Pediatr Surg 15 (1): 25-9, 2006.
Pastorino U, Gasparini M, Tavecchio L, et al.: The contribution of salvage surgery to the management of childhood osteosarcoma. J Clin Oncol 9 (8): 1357-62, 1991.
Skinner KA, Eilber FR, Holmes EC, et al.: Surgical treatment and chemotherapy for pulmonary metastases from osteosarcoma. Arch Surg 127 (9): 1065-70; discussion 1070-1, 1992.
Chou AJ, Merola PR, Wexler LH, et al.: Treatment of osteosarcoma at first recurrence after contemporary therapy: the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center experience. Cancer 104 (10): 2214-21, 2005.
Harting MT, Blakely ML, Jaffe N, et al.: Long-term survival after aggressive resection of pulmonary metastases among children and adolescents with osteosarcoma. J Pediatr Surg 41 (1): 194-9, 2006.
Harris MB, Cantor AB, Goorin AM, et al.: Treatment of osteosarcoma with ifosfamide: comparison of response in pediatric patients with recurrent disease versus patients previously untreated: a Pediatric Oncology Group study. Med Pediatr Oncol 24 (2): 87-92, 1995.
Miser JS, Kinsella TJ, Triche TJ, et al.: Ifosfamide with mesna uroprotection and etoposide: an effective regimen in the treatment of recurrent sarcomas and other tumors of children and young adults. J Clin Oncol 5 (8): 1191-8, 1987.
Kung FH, Pratt CB, Vega RA, et al.: Ifosfamide/etoposide combination in the treatment of recurrent malignant solid tumors of childhood. A Pediatric Oncology Group Phase II study. Cancer 71 (5): 1898-903, 1993.
Berrak SG, Pearson M, Berberoğlu S, et al.: High-dose ifosfamide in relapsed pediatric osteosarcoma: therapeutic effects and renal toxicity. Pediatr Blood Cancer 44 (3): 215-9, 2005.
Massimo B, Giovanni G, Stefano F, et al.: Phase 2 trial of two courses of cyclophosphamide and etoposide for relapsed high-risk osteosarcoma patients. Cancer 115 (13): 2980-7, 2009.
Navid F, Willert JR, McCarville MB, et al.: Combination of gemcitabine and docetaxel in the treatment of children and young adults with refractory bone sarcoma. Cancer 113 (2): 419-25, 2008.
Qi WX, He AN, Tang LN, et al.: Efficacy and safety of gemcitabine-docetaxel combination therapy for recurrent or refractory high-grade osteosarcoma in China: a retrospective study of 18 patients. Jpn J Clin Oncol 42 (5): 427-31, 2012.
Grignani G, Palmerini E, Dileo P, et al.: A phase II trial of sorafenib in relapsed and unresectable high-grade osteosarcoma after failure of standard multimodal therapy: an Italian Sarcoma Group study. Ann Oncol 23 (2): 508-16, 2012.
Anderson PM, Wiseman GA, Dispenzieri A, et al.: High-dose samarium-153 ethylene diamine tetramethylene phosphonate: low toxicity of skeletal irradiation in patients with osteosarcoma and bone metastases. J Clin Oncol 20 (1): 189-96, 2002.
Franzius C, Bielack S, Flege S, et al.: High-activity samarium-153-EDTMP therapy followed by autologous peripheral blood stem cell support in unresectable osteosarcoma. Nuklearmedizin 40 (6): 215-20, 2001.
Sauerbrey A, Bielack S, Kempf-Bielack B, et al.: High-dose chemotherapy (HDC) and autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (ASCT) as salvage therapy for relapsed osteosarcoma. Bone Marrow Transplant 27 (9): 933-7, 2001.
Fagioli F, Aglietta M, Tienghi A, et al.: High-dose chemotherapy in the treatment of relapsed osteosarcoma: an Italian sarcoma group study. J Clin Oncol 20 (8): 2150-6, 2002.
Loeb DM, Garrett-Mayer E, Hobbs RF, et al.: Dose-finding study of 153Sm-EDTMP in patients with poor-prognosis osteosarcoma. Cancer 115 (11): 2514-22, 2009.
Briccoli A, Rocca M, Salone M, et al.: Resection of recurrent pulmonary metastases in patients with osteosarcoma. Cancer 104 (8): 1721-5, 2005.
Tabone MD, Kalifa C, Rodary C, et al.: Osteosarcoma recurrences in pediatric patients previously treated with intensive chemotherapy. J Clin Oncol 12 (12): 2614-20, 1994.
Briccoli A, Rocca M, Salone M, et al.: High grade osteosarcoma of the extremities metastatic to the lung: long-term results in 323 patients treated combining surgery and chemotherapy, 1985-2005. Surg Oncol 19 (4): 193-9, 2010.
Su WT, Chewning J, Abramson S, et al.: Surgical management and outcome of osteosarcoma patients with unilateral pulmonary metastases. J Pediatr Surg 39 (3): 418-23; discussion 418-23, 2004.
Fernandez-Pineda I, Daw NC, McCarville B, et al.: Patients with osteosarcoma with a single pulmonary nodule on computed tomography: a single-institution experience. J Pediatr Surg 47 (6): 1250-4, 2012.
Karplus G, McCarville MB, Smeltzer MP, et al.: Should contralateral exploratory thoracotomy be advocated for children with osteosarcoma and early unilateral pulmonary metastases? J Pediatr Surg 44 (4): 665-71, 2009.
Bacci G, Longhi A, Bertoni F, et al.: Bone metastases in osteosarcoma patients treated with neoadjuvant or adjuvant chemotherapy: the Rizzoli experience in 52 patients. Acta Orthop 77 (6): 938-43, 2006.
Aung L, Gorlick R, Healey JH, et al.: Metachronous skeletal osteosarcoma in patients treated with adjuvant and neoadjuvant chemotherapy for nonmetastatic osteosarcoma. J Clin Oncol 21 (2): 342-8, 2003.
Jaffe N, Pearson P, Yasko AW, et al.: Single and multiple metachronous osteosarcoma tumors after therapy. Cancer 98 (11): 2457-66, 2003.
Franke M, Hardes J, Helmke K, et al.: Solitary skeletal osteosarcoma recurrence. Findings from the Cooperative Osteosarcoma Study Group. Pediatr Blood Cancer 56 (5): 771-6, 2011.
Weeden S, Grimer RJ, Cannon SR, et al.: The effect of local recurrence on survival in resected osteosarcoma. Eur J Cancer 37 (1): 39-46, 2001.
Rodriguez-Galindo C, Shah N, McCarville MB, et al.: Outcome after local recurrence of osteosarcoma: the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital experience (1970-2000). Cancer 100 (9): 1928-35, 2004.
Grimer RJ, Sommerville S, Warnock D, et al.: Management and outcome after local recurrence of osteosarcoma. Eur J Cancer 41 (4): 578-83, 2005.
Bacci G, Forni C, Longhi A, et al.: Local recurrence and local control of non-metastatic osteosarcoma of the extremities: a 27-year experience in a single institution. J Surg Oncol 96 (2): 118-23, 2007.
Bacci G, Longhi A, Cesari M, et al.: Influence of local recurrence on survival in patients with extremity osteosarcoma treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy: the experience of a single institution with 44 patients. Cancer 106 (12): 2701-6, 2006.
Nathan SS, Gorlick R, Bukata S, et al.: Treatment algorithm for locally recurrent osteosarcoma based on local disease-free interval and the presence of lung metastasis. Cancer 107 (7): 1607-16, 2006.
Bielack SS, Kempf-Bielack B, Branscheid D, et al.: Second and subsequent recurrences of osteosarcoma: presentation, treatment, and outcomes of 249 consecutive cooperative osteosarcoma study group patients. J Clin Oncol 27 (4): 557-65, 2009.
This information was last updated on September 4, 2014.
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In this video, Dr. Andrew Wagner talks about his work in the Sarcoma and Bone Cancer Treatment Center at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center.