Osteosarcoma

  • Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Care

    Osteosarcoma is a cancer of the bone that usually affects the large bones of the arm or leg. It occurs most commonly in young people and affects more males than females. Learn about osteosarcoma and find information on how we support and care for people with osteosarcoma before, during, and after treatment.

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: 

  • Alveolar soft part sarcoma
  • Angiosarcoma
  • Chondrosarcoma
  • Desmoid tumor
  • Desmoplastic small cell tumor
  • Epithelioid sarcoma
  • Ewings sarcoma
  • Extraskeletal mesenchymal chondrosarcoma
  • Extraskeletal osteosarcoma
  • Fibrous histiocytoma of bone
  • Fibrosarcoma
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST)
  • Kaposi's sarcoma
  • Leiomyosarcoma
  • Liposarcoma
  • Malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH)
  • Malignant mesenchymoma
  • Malignant primative neuroectodermal tumor (PNET)
  • Myofibroblastic sarcoma
  • Myxofibrosarcoma
  • Neurofibrosarcoma
  • Osteoganic sarcoma
  • Osteosarcoma
  • PEComa
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma
  • Malignant schwannoma
  • Spindle cell sarcoma
  • Synovial sarcoma

Contact us 

If you have never been seen before at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center, please call 877-442-3324 or use this online form to make an appointment.

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Learn more about the Center for Sarcoma and Bone Oncology 

Information for: Patients | Healthcare Professionals

General Information About Osteosarcoma and Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma of Bone

Osteosarcoma and malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH) of the bone are diseases in which malignant (cancer) cells form in bone.

Osteosarcoma usually starts in osteoblasts, which are a type of bone cell that becomes new bone tissue. Osteosarcoma is most common in teenagers. 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 forms in the bones near 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 about Ewing Sarcoma Family of Tumors for more information.

Having past treatment with radiation can increase the risk of osteosarcoma.

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. Talk with your child's doctor if you think your child may be at risk. Risk factors for osteosarcoma include the following:

  • Past treatment with radiation therapy.
  • Past treatment with anticancer drugs called alkylating agents.
  • Having a certain change in the retinoblastomagene.
  • Having certain conditions, such as the following:
    • Hereditary retinoblastoma.
    • Paget disease.
    • Diamond-Blackfan anemia.
    • Li-Fraumeni syndrome.
    • Rothmund-Thomson syndrome.
    • Bloom syndrome.
    • Werner syndrome.

Signs and symptoms of osteosarcoma and MFH include swelling over a bone or a bony part of the body and joint pain.

These and other signs and symptoms may be caused by osteosarcoma or MFH or by other conditions. Check with a doctor if your child has any of the following:

  • Swelling over a bone or bony part of the body.
  • Pain in a bone or joint.
  • A bone that breaks for no known reason.

Imaging tests are used to detect (find) osteosarcoma and MFH.

Imaging tests are done before the biopsy. The following tests and procedures may be used:

  • Physical exam and history: An exam of the body to check general signs of health, including checking for signs of disease, such as lumps or anything else that seems unusual. A history of the patient’s health habits and past illnesses and treatments will also be taken.
  • X-ray: An x-ray of the organs and bones inside the body. An x-ray is a type of energy beam that can go through the body and onto film, making a picture of areas inside the body.
  • CT scan (CAT scan): A procedure that makes a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, taken from different angles. The pictures are made by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the organs or tissues show up more clearly. This procedure is also called computed tomography, computerized tomography, or computerized axial tomography.
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): A procedure that uses a magnet, radio waves, and a computer to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. This procedure is also called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI).

A biopsy is done to diagnose osteosarcoma.

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:

  • Fine-needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy: The removal of tissue or fluid using a thin needle.
  • Core biopsy: The removal of tissue using a wide needle.
  • Incisional biopsy: The removal of part of a lump or a sample of tissue that doesn't look normal.
  • Excisional biopsy: The removal of an entire lump or area of tissue that doesn’t look normal.

The following tests may be done on the tissue that is removed:

  • Light and electron microscopy: A laboratory test in which cells in a sample of tissue are viewed under regular and high-powered microscopes to look for certain changes in the cells.
  • Cytogenetic analysis: A laboratory test in which cells in a sample of tissue are viewed under a microscope to look for certain changes in the chromosomes.
  • Immunocytochemistry study: A laboratory test in which a substance such as an antibody, dye, or radioisotope is added to a sample of cancer cells to test for certain antigens. This type of study is used to tell the difference between different types of cancer.

Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options.

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:

  • Where the tumor is in the body and whether tumors formed in more than one bone.
  • The size of the tumor.
  • Whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body and where it has spread.
  • The type of tumor (based on how the cancer cells look under a microscope).
  • The patient's age at diagnosis.
  • Whether the patient has certain genetic diseases.

After osteosarcoma or MFH is treated, prognosis also depends on the following:

  • How much of the cancer was killed by chemotherapy.
  • How much of the tumor was taken out by surgery.
  • Whether chemotherapy is delayed for more than 3 weeks after surgery takes place.
  • Whether the cancer has recurred (come back) within 2 years of diagnosis.

Treatment options for osteosarcoma and MFH depend on the following:

  • Where the tumor is in the body.
  • The size of the tumor.
  • The stage of the cancer.
  • Whether the bones are still growing.
  • The patient's age and general health.
  • The desire of the patient and family for the patient to be able to participate in activities such as sports or have a certain appearance.
  • Whether the cancer is newly diagnosed or has recurred after treatment.

Stages of Osteosarcoma and Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma of Bone

After osteosarcoma or malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH) has been diagnosed, tests are done to find out if cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body.

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:

  • X-ray: An x-ray of the organs and bones inside the body. An x-ray is a type of energy beam that can go through the body and onto film, making a picture of areas inside the body. X-rays will be taken of the chest and the area where the tumor formed.
  • CT scan (CAT scan): A procedure that makes a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, taken from different angles. The pictures are made by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the organs or tissues show up more clearly. This procedure is also called computed tomography, computerized tomography, or computerized axial tomography. Pictures will be taken of the chest and the area where the tumor formed.
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): A procedure that uses a magnet, radio waves, and a computer to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. This procedure is also called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI).
  • Bone scan: A procedure to check if there are rapidly dividing cells, such as cancer cells, in the bone. A very small amount of radioactive material is injected into a vein and travels through the bloodstream. The radioactive material collects in the bones and is detected by a scanner.
  • PET scan (positron emission tomography scan): A procedure to find malignant tumor cells in the body. A small amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) is injected into a vein. The PET scanner rotates around the body and makes a picture of where glucose is being used in the body. Malignant tumor cells show up brighter in the picture because they are more active and take up more glucose than normal cells do.

There are three ways that cancer spreads in the body.

Cancer can spread through tissue, the lymph system, and the blood:

  • Tissue. The cancer spreads from where it began by growing into nearby areas.
  • Lymph system. The cancer spreads from where it began by getting into the lymph system. The cancer travels through the lymph vessels to other parts of the body.
  • Blood. The cancer spreads from where it began by getting into the blood. The cancer travels through the blood vessels to other parts of the body.

Cancer may spread from where it began to other parts of the body.

When cancer spreads to another part of the body, it is called metastasis. Cancer cells break away from where they began (the primary tumor) and travel through the lymph system or blood.

  • Lymph system. The cancer gets into the lymph system, travels through the lymph vessels, and forms a tumor (metastatic tumor) in another part of the body.
  • Blood. The cancer gets into the blood, travels through the blood vessels, and forms a tumor (metastatic tumor) in another part of the body.

The metastatic tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if osteosarcoma spreads to the lung, the cancer cells in the lung are actually osteosarcoma cells. The disease is metastatic osteosarcoma, not lung cancer.

Osteosarcoma and MFH are described as either localized or metastatic.

  • Localized osteosarcoma or MFH has not spread out of the bone where the cancer started. There may be one or more areas of cancer in the bone that can be removed during surgery.
  • Metastatic osteosarcoma or MFH has spread from the bone in which the cancer began to other parts of the body. The cancer most often spreads to the lungs. It may also spread to other bones.

Recurrent Osteosarcoma and Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma of Bone

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.

Treatment Option Overview

There are different types of treatment for patients with osteosarcoma or malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH) of bone.

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.

Children with osteosarcoma or MFH should have their treatment planned by a team of health care providers with expertise in treating cancer in children.

Treatment will be overseen by a pediatric oncologist, a doctor who specializes in treating children with cancer. The pediatric oncologist works with other pediatrichealth care providers who are experts in treating osteosarcoma and MFH and who specialize in certain areas of medicine. These may include the following specialists:

  • Pediatrician.
  • Orthopedic surgeon.
  • Radiation oncologist.
  • Rehabilitation specialist.
  • Pediatric nurse specialist.
  • Social worker.
  • Psychologist.

Some cancer treatments cause side effects months or years after treatment has ended.

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:

  • Physical problems.
  • Changes in mood, feelings, thinking, learning, or memory.
  • Second cancers (new types of cancer).

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).

Four types of standard treatment are used:

Surgery

Surgery to remove the entire tumor will be done when possible. Chemotherapy may be given before surgery to make the tumor smaller. This is called neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is given so less bone tissue needs to be removed and there are fewer problems after surgery.

The following types of surgery may be done:

  • Wide local excision: Surgery to remove the cancer and some healthy tissue around it.
  • Limb-sparing surgery: Removal of the tumor in a limb (arm or leg) without amputation, so the use and appearance of the limb is saved. Most patients with osteosarcoma in a limb can be treated with limb-sparing surgery. The tumor is removed by wide local excision. Tissue and bone that are removed may be replaced with a graft using tissue and bone taken from another part of the patient's body, or with an implant such as artificial bone. If a fracture is found at diagnosis or during chemotherapy before surgery, limb-sparing surgery may still be possible in some cases. If the surgeon is not able to remove all of the tumor and enough healthy tissue around it, an amputation may be done.
  • Amputation: Surgery to remove part or all of an arm or leg. This may be done when it is not possible to remove all of the tumor in limb-sparing surgery. The patient may be fitted with a prosthesis (artificial limb) after amputation.
  • Rotationplasty: Surgery to remove the tumor and the knee joint. The part of the leg that remains below the knee is then attached to the part of the leg that remains above the knee, with the foot facing backward and the ankle acting as a knee. A prosthesis may then be attached to the foot.

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, patients are also given chemotherapy after surgery to kill any cancer cells that are left in the area where the tumor was removed or that have spread to other parts of the body. Treatment given after the surgery, to lower the risk that the cancer will come back, is called adjuvant therapy.

Chemotherapy

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 cerebrospinal fluid, 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.

In the treatment of osteosarcoma and malignant fibrous histiocytosis of bone, chemotherapy is usually given before and after surgery to remove the primary tumor.

See Drugs Approved for Bone Cancer for more information.

Radiation therapy

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

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. It also is used to treat osteosarcoma that has come back after treatment in a different bone.

Treatment with samarium may be followed by stem cell transplant. 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.

New types of treatment are being tested in clinical trials.

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.

Targeted therapy

Targeted therapy is a treatment that uses drugs or other substances to find and attack specific cancer cells without harming normal cells. Several types of targeted therapy are being studied for osteosarcoma.

  • Angiogenesis inhibitortherapy: Drugs that stop cells from dividing and prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow.
  • Viral therapy: Use of a virus that has been changed in the laboratory to find and destroy cancer cells without harming healthy cells.
  • Monoclonal antibody therapy: A cancer treatment that uses antibodies made in the laboratory, from a single type of immune system cell. These antibodies can identify substances on cancer cells or normal substances that may help cancer cells grow. The antibodies attach to the substances and kill the cancer cells, block their growth, or keep them from spreading. Monoclonal antibodies are given by infusion. They may be used alone or to carry drugs, toxins, or radioactive material directly to cancer cells.
  • Kinase inhibitor therapy: A drug that blocks a protein needed for cancer cells to divide.

Patients may want to think about taking part in a clinical trial.

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.

Patients can enter clinical trials before, during, or after starting their cancer treatment.

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 listing of clinical trials.

Follow-up tests may be needed.

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 child's condition has changed or if the cancer has recurred (come back). These tests are sometimes called follow-up tests or check-ups.

Treatment Options for Osteosarcoma and Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma of Bone

Localized Osteosarcoma and Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma of Bone

Treatment may include the following:

  • Surgery. Combination chemotherapy is usually given before and after surgery.
  • Surgery followed by radiation therapy when the tumor cannot be completely removed by surgery.
  • A clinical trial of surgery and a new anticancer drug.

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. 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. Talk with your child's doctor about clinical trials that may be right for your child. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Metastatic Osteosarcoma and Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma of Bone

Lung Metastasis

When osteosarcoma or malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH) spreads, it usually spreads to the lung. Treatment of osteosarcoma and MFH with lung metastasis may include the following:

  • Combination chemotherapy followed by surgery to remove the primary cancer and the cancer that has spread to the lung.

Bone Metastasis or Bone with Lung Metastasis

Osteosarcoma and malignant fibrous histiocytoma may spread to a distant bone and/or the lung. Treatment may include the following:

  • Combination chemotherapy followed by surgery to remove the primary tumor and the cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. More chemotherapy is given after surgery.
  • Surgery to remove the primary tumor followed by chemotherapy and surgery to remove cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.

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. 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. Talk with your child's doctor about clinical trials that may be right for your child. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Recurrent Osteosarcoma and Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma of Bone

Treatment of recurrentosteosarcoma and malignant fibrous histiocytoma of bone may include the following:

  • Surgery to remove the tumor with or without chemotherapy.
  • Samarium with or without stem cell transplant using the patient's own stem cells, as palliative treatment to relieve pain and improve the quality of life.
  • A clinical trial of new types of treatment for patients whose cancer cannot be removed by surgery. These may include targeted therapy.

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. 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. Talk with your child's doctor about clinical trials that may be right for your child. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

To Learn More About Osteosarcoma and Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma of Bone

For more information from the National Cancer Institute about osteosarcoma and malignant fibrous histiocytoma of bone, see the following:

For more childhood cancer information and other general cancer resources, see the following:


This information is provided by the National Cancer Institute.

This information was last updated on January 16, 2014.


General Information About Osteosarcoma and Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma (MFH) of Bone

Fortunately, cancer in children and adolescents is rare, although the overall incidence of childhood cancer has been slowly increasing since 1975.[1] 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.[2] 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 2002, childhood cancer mortality has decreased by more than 50%. For osteosarcoma, the 5-year survival rate has increased over the same time from 40% to 67% in children and adolescents.[1] 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 NCI resulted in an estimate of 4.4 per million new cases of osteosarcoma each year in people aged 0 to 24 years.[3] 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.[4][5] Two trials conducted in the 1980s were designed to determine if chemotherapy altered the natural history of osteosarcoma following 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.[6] Overall survival for patients treated with surgery alone was statistically inferior.[7] 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.[6][8]; [9][Level of evidence: 1iiA]

Prognostic Factors

Pretreatment factors that influence outcome include site and size of the primary tumor and presence or absence of clinically detectable metastatic disease.[10] After administration of preoperative chemotherapy, surgical resectability and the degree of tumor necrosis influence outcome. 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.

Primary site

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 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.

  • Pelvis: Pelvic osteosarcomas make up 7% to 9% of all osteosarcomas; survival rates for patients with pelvic primary tumors are 20% to 47%.[11][12][13] Complete surgical resection is associated with positive outcome for osteosarcoma of the pelvis.[11][14]
  • Craniofacial/head and neck: Within the craniofacial osteosarcoma group, patients with mandibular tumors have a significantly better prognosis than patients with extragnathic tumors.[15] For patients with osteosarcoma of craniofacial bones, complete resection of the primary tumor with negative margins is essential for cure.[16][17][18] There is a better prognosis for patients who have osteosarcoma of the head and neck than for those who have appendicular lesions when treated with surgery alone.

    Despite a relatively high rate of inferior necrosis following neoadjuvant chemotherapy, fewer patients with craniofacial primaries develop systemic metastases than do patients with osteosarcoma originating in the extremities.[19][20][21] 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.[18][22]

    Radiation therapy was found to improve local control, disease-specific survival, and overall survival in a retrospective study of osteosarcoma of the craniofacial bones, which had positive or uncertain margins after surgical resection.[23][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.[24]

    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.[15]

  • Extraskeletal: Osteosarcoma in extraskeletal sites is rare in children and young adults. With current combined-modality therapy, the outcome for patients with extraskeletal osteosarcoma appears to be similar to that for patients with primary tumors of bone.[25]

Tumor size

Larger tumors have a worse prognosis than smaller tumors.[10][26] 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.

Presence of clinically detectable metastatic disease

Patients with localized disease have a much better prognosis than those 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.[27] 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.[28][29]

  • Site of metastases: Prognosis appears more favorable for patients with fewer pulmonary nodules and for those with unilateral rather than bilateral pulmonary metastases;[28] not all patients with suspected pulmonary metastases at diagnosis have osteosarcoma confirmed at the time of lung resection. In one large series, approximately 25% of patients had exclusively benign lesions removed at the time of surgery.[29]
  • Number of metastases: Patients with skip metastases (at least two discontinuous lesions in the same bone) have been reported to have inferior prognoses.[30] Analysis of the German Cooperative Osteosarcoma Study experience, however, suggests that skip lesions in the same bone do not confer an inferior prognosis if they are included in planned surgical resection. Skip lesions across a joint have a worse prognosis.[31] Skip metastasis in a bone other than the primary bone should be considered systemic metastasis. Traditionally, metastasis across a joint has been referred to as a skip lesion. Metastasis across a joint might be considered hematogenous spread and it has a worse outcome.

    Patients with multifocal osteosarcoma (defined as multiple bone lesions without a clear primary tumor) have an extremely poor prognosis.[32]

  • Surgical resectability of metastases: Patients who have complete surgical ablation of the primary and metastatic tumor (when confined to the lung) following chemotherapy may attain long-term survival, though overall event-free survival remains about 20% to 30% for patients with metastatic disease at diagnosis.[28][29][33][34]

Adequacy of tumor resection

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.[15][Level of evidence: 3iiB] For patients with axial skeletal primaries who either do not have surgery for their primary tumor or who have surgery resulting in positive margins, radiation therapy may improve survival.[14][35] 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.[12]

Necrosis following induction or neoadjuvant chemotherapy

Most treatment protocols for osteosarcoma use an initial period of systemic chemotherapy prior to definitive resection of the primary tumor (or resection of sites of metastases for patients with metastatic disease). 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.[26] 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%).[36] 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 (MRI) or positron emission tomography (PET) scanning are under investigation as noninvasive methods to assess response.[37][38][39][40][41][42][43][44]

Additional prognostic factors

Patients with osteosarcoma as a second malignant neoplasm, including those tumors arising in a radiation field, share the same prognosis as patients with de novo osteosarcoma if they are treated aggressively with complete surgical resection and multiagent chemotherapy.[45][46][47][48] Possible prognostic factors identified for patients with conventional localized high-grade osteosarcoma include the age of the patient, LDH level, alkaline phosphatase level, and histologic subtype.[26][49][50][51][52][53][54] Older patients appear to have a poorer outcome.[54][55] A number of potential prognostic factors have been identified but have not been tested in large numbers of patients. These include the expression of HER2/c-erbB-2 (there are conflicting data concerning the prognostic significance of this human epidermal growth factor);[56][57][58] tumor cell ploidy; specific chromosomal gains or losses;[59] loss of heterozygosity of the RB gene;[60][61] loss of heterozygosity of the p53 locus;[62] and increased expression of p-glycoprotein.[63][64] A prospective analysis of p-glycoprotein expression determined by immunohistochemistry failed to identify prognostic significance for newly diagnosed patients with osteosarcoma, although earlier studies suggested that overexpression of p-glycoprotein predicted for poor outcome.[65] In a large series, a delay of 21 days or more from the time of definitive surgery to the resumption of chemotherapy was an adverse prognostic factor.[66] Pathologic fracture at diagnosis or during preoperative chemotherapy does not have adverse prognostic significance.[67]; [68][Level of evidence: 3iiiA]

Syndromes Associated With Osteosarcoma

Rothmund-Thomson syndrome

Patients with Rothmund-Thomson syndrome have an increased risk of developing osteosarcoma compared with the general population. They also tend to develop osteosarcoma at a younger age.[69] Rothmund-Thomson syndrome, also called poikiloderma congenitale, is a rare autosomal recessive condition attributed to mutations of the RECQL4 helicase gene on 8q24. It is characterized by distinctive skin findings (e.g., atrophy, telangiectasias, pigmentation), sparse hair, cataracts, small stature, skeletal anomalies, and a significantly increased risk for osteosarcoma. There is no adverse prognostic significance for osteosarcoma in conjunction with Rothmund-Thomson syndrome.

Genetic diseases that predispose to osteosarcoma

Table 1. Genetic Diseases That Predispose to Osteosarcomaa

Syndrome

Location

Gene

Function

Bloom syndrome [71]

15q26.1

BLM (RecQL3)

DNA helicase

Diamond-Blackfan anemia [72]

Ribosomal proteins

Ribosome production [72][73]

Li-Fraumeni syndrome [74]

17p13.1

P53

DNA damage response

Paget disease [75]

18q21-qa22

LOH18CR1

IL-1/TNF signaling; RANK signaling pathway

5q31

5q35-qter

Retinoblastoma [76]

13q14.2

RB1

Cell-cycle checkpoint

Rothmund-Thomson syndrome [69][77]

8q24.3

RTS (RecQL4)

DNA helicase

Werner syndrome [78]

8p12-p11.2

WRN (RecQL2)

DNA helicase; exonuclease activity

aTable adapted from Kansara and Thomas.[70]

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Cellular Classification

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 [1] of bone tumors separates the osteosarcomas into central (medullary) and surface (peripheral) [2][3] tumors and recognizes a number of subtypes within each group.

Central (Medullary) Tumors

  • Conventional central osteosarcomas.
  • Telangiectatic osteosarcomas.[4][5]
  • Intraosseous well-differentiated (low-grade) osteosarcomas.
  • Small-cell osteosarcomas.

Surface (Peripheral) Tumors

  • Parosteal (juxtacortical) well-differentiated (low-grade) osteosarcomas.[6][7]
  • Periosteal osteosarcoma: low-grade to intermediate-grade osteosarcomas.[8][9][10]
  • High-grade surface osteosarcomas.[3][11][12]

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.[4][5]

Malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH) of bone is treated according to osteosarcoma treatment protocols.[13] 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.[14] One study suggests similar event-free survival rates for MFH and osteosarcoma.[13]

Extraosseous osteosarcoma is a malignant mesenchymal neoplasm without direct attachment to the skeletal system. Previously, treatment for extraosseous osteosarcoma followed soft tissue sarcoma guidelines,[15] though a retrospective analysis of the German Cooperative Osteosarcoma Study identified a favorable outcome for extraosseous osteosarcoma treated with surgery and conventional osteosarcoma therapy.[16]

References:

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  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Hoshi M, Matsumoto S, Manabe J, et al.: Oncologic outcome of parosteal osteosarcoma. Int J Clin Oncol 11 (2): 120-6, 2006.

  7. Han I, Oh JH, Na YG, et al.: Clinical outcome of parosteal osteosarcoma. J Surg Oncol 97 (2): 146-9, 2008.

  8. 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.

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  10. Cesari M, Alberghini M, Vanel D, et al.: Periosteal osteosarcoma: a single-institution experience. Cancer 117 (8): 1731-5, 2011.

  11. Okada K, Unni KK, Swee RG, et al.: High grade surface osteosarcoma: a clinicopathologic study of 46 cases. Cancer 85 (5): 1044-54, 1999.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Daw NC, Billups CA, Pappo AS, et al.: Malignant fibrous histiocytoma and other fibrohistiocytic tumors in pediatric patients: the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital experience. Cancer 97 (11): 2839-47, 2003.

  15. 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.

  16. Goldstein-Jackson SY, Gosheger G, Delling G, et al.: Extraskeletal osteosarcoma has a favourable prognosis when treated like conventional osteosarcoma. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 131 (8): 520-6, 2005.

Staging and Site Information

Historically, the Enneking staging system for skeletal malignancies was widely used.[1] 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 (see Table 2).[2] The AJCC classification is as follows:

Table 2. Definitions of TNM Stage I through Stage IVa

Stage

Tumor Grade

Tumor Size

IA

Low

<8 cm

IB

Low

>8 cm

IIA

High

<8 cm

IIB

High

>8 cm

III

Any tumor grade, skip metastasesb

IV

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. 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.[3]

Localized Osteosarcoma

Localized tumors are limited to the bone of origin. Patients with skip lesions confined to the bone which includes the primary tumor should be considered to have localized disease if the skip lesions can be included in the planned surgical resection.[4] 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 ribs.[5] Compared with osteosarcoma of the appendicular skeleton, osteosarcoma of the head and neck is more likely to be low grade [6] and to arise in older patients.

Metastatic Osteosarcoma

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.[7] 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.[5]

References:

  1. Enneking WF: A system of staging musculoskeletal neoplasms. Clin Orthop Relat Res (204): 9-24, 1986.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Kager L, Zoubek A, Kastner U, et al.: Skip metastases in osteosarcoma: experience of the Cooperative Osteosarcoma Study Group. J Clin Oncol 24 (10): 1535-41, 2006.

  5. 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.

  6. Patel SG, Meyers P, Huvos AG, et al.: Improved outcomes in patients with osteogenic sarcoma of the head and neck. Cancer 95 (7): 1495-503, 2002.

  7. Harris MB, Gieser P, Goorin AM, et al.: Treatment of metastatic osteosarcoma at diagnosis: a Pediatric Oncology Group Study. J Clin Oncol 16 (11): 3641-8, 1998.

Treatment Option Overview

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.[1]; [2][Level of evidence: 1iiA] The Pediatric Oncology Group conducted a study in which patients were randomly assigned either to 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.[3] 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 prior to the initial biopsy, since an inappropriately performed biopsy may jeopardize a limb-sparing procedure.

Recognition of 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.[4][5] Periosteal osteosarcoma has a generally good prognosis [6] and treatment is guided by histologic grade.[5][7]

References:

  1. Link MP, Goorin AM, Miser AW, et al.: The effect of adjuvant chemotherapy on relapse-free survival in patients with osteosarcoma of the extremity. N Engl J Med 314 (25): 1600-6, 1986.

  2. Bernthal NM, Federman N, Eilber FR, et al.: Long-term results (>25 years) of a randomized, prospective clinical trial evaluating chemotherapy in patients with high-grade, operable osteosarcoma. Cancer 118 (23): 5888-93, 2012.

  3. 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.

  4. Hoshi M, Matsumoto S, Manabe J, et al.: Oncologic outcome of parosteal osteosarcoma. Int J Clin Oncol 11 (2): 120-6, 2006.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Grimer RJ, Bielack S, Flege S, et al.: Periosteal osteosarcoma--a European review of outcome. Eur J Cancer 41 (18): 2806-11, 2005.

Localized Osteosarcoma and MFH of Bone

Patients with localized osteosarcoma undergoing surgery and chemotherapy have a 5-year overall survival (OS) of 65% to 70%.[1] Complete surgical resection is crucial for patients with localized osteosarcoma; however, at least 80% of patients treated with surgery alone will develop metastatic disease.[2] Randomized clinical trials have established that adjuvant chemotherapy is effective in preventing relapse or recurrence in patients with localized resectable primary tumors.[2]; [3][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.[4] As with osteosarcoma, patients with a favorable necrosis (≥90% necrosis) had a longer survival than those with an inferior necrosis (<90% necrosis).[5] MFH of bone is seen more commonly in older adults. Many patients with MFH will need preoperative chemotherapy to achieve a wide local excision.[6]

Biopsy

The diagnosis of osteosarcoma can be made by needle biopsy, core needle biopsy, or open surgical biopsy. If limb sparing (removal of the malignant bone tumor without amputation and replacement of bones or joints with allografts or prosthetic devices) is contemplated, the biopsy should be performed by the surgeon who will do the definitive operation, since incision placement is crucial.

Surgical Removal of Primary Tumor

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.[7]

In general, more than 80% of patients with extremity osteosarcoma can be treated by a limb-sparing procedure and do not require amputation.[8] Limb-sparing procedures should be 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.[9] 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 in resumption of chemotherapy after definitive surgery is associated with increased risk of tumor recurrence and death.[10][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.[11] In two series, patients presenting with a pathologic fracture at diagnosis had similar outcomes to those without pathologic fractures at diagnosis, while in a third series, pathologic fracture at diagnosis was associated with a worse overall outcome.[12][13]; [14][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 following preoperative chemotherapy was poor.[15]

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.[16][Level of evidence: 3iiA] Local recurrence (n = 76) was associated with a high risk for 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 patients who undergo limb-salvage procedures. There is no difference in OS between patients initially treated by amputation and those treated with a limb-sparing procedure. Patients with tumors of the femur have a higher local recurrence rate than 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 limb-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.[17][18]; [19][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.[20][Level of evidence: 3iiiA] RT should be considered in patients with osteosarcoma of the head and neck who have positive or uncertain resection margins.[21][Level of evidence: 3iiA]

Chemotherapy

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.[22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30] 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.[31] 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) which 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.[23][32]

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).[33][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.

Osteosarcoma of the Head and Neck

Osteosarcoma of the head and neck occurs in an older population compared to osteosarcoma of the extremities.[21][34][35][36][37][38] In the pediatric age group, osteosarcomas of the head and neck are more likely to be low or intermediate grade than tumors of the extremities.[39][40] All reported series stress the need for complete surgical resection.[21][34][35][36][37][38][39][40][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.[34][37][38][41] The probability for cure with surgery alone is higher for osteosarcoma of the head and neck than for extremity osteosarcoma. Primary sites in the mandible and maxilla are associated with a better prognosis than other primary sites in the head and neck.[36][37][41] When surgical margins are positive, there is a trend for improved survival with adjuvant radiation therapy.[21][37][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.[34][42] Chemotherapy should be considered for younger patients with high-grade osteosarcoma of the head and neck.[39][40]

Current Clinical Trials

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.

References:

  1. Smith MA, Seibel NL, Altekruse SF, et al.: Outcomes for children and adolescents with cancer: challenges for the twenty-first century. J Clin Oncol 28 (15): 2625-34, 2010.

  2. Link MP, Goorin AM, Miser AW, et al.: The effect of adjuvant chemotherapy on relapse-free survival in patients with osteosarcoma of the extremity. N Engl J Med 314 (25): 1600-6, 1986.

  3. Bernthal NM, Federman N, Eilber FR, et al.: Long-term results (>25 years) of a randomized, prospective clinical trial evaluating chemotherapy in patients with high-grade, operable osteosarcoma. Cancer 118 (23): 5888-93, 2012.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Daw NC, Billups CA, Pappo AS, et al.: Malignant fibrous histiocytoma and other fibrohistiocytic tumors in pediatric patients: the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital experience. Cancer 97 (11): 2839-47, 2003.

  7. Grimer RJ: Surgical options for children with osteosarcoma. Lancet Oncol 6 (2): 85-92, 2005.

  8. 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.

  9. Grimer RJ, Taminiau AM, Cannon SR, et al.: Surgical outcomes in osteosarcoma. J Bone Joint Surg Br 84 (3): 395-400, 2002.

  10. Imran H, Enders F, Krailo M, et al.: Effect of time to resumption of chemotherapy after definitive surgery on prognosis for non-metastatic osteosarcoma. J Bone Joint Surg Am 91 (3): 604-12, 2009.

  11. 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.

  12. Bacci G, Ferrari S, Longhi A, et al.: Nonmetastatic osteosarcoma of the extremity with pathologic fracture at presentation: local and systemic control by amputation or limb salvage after preoperative chemotherapy. Acta Orthop Scand 74 (4): 449-54, 2003.

  13. 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.

  14. Kim MS, Lee SY, Lee TR, et al.: Prognostic effect of pathologic fracture in localized osteosarcoma: a cohort/case controlled study at a single institute. J Surg Oncol 100 (3): 233-9, 2009.

  15. 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.

  16. Andreou D, Bielack SS, Carrle D, et al.: The influence of tumor- and treatment-related factors on the development of local recurrence in osteosarcoma after adequate surgery. An analysis of 1355 patients treated on neoadjuvant Cooperative Osteosarcoma Study Group protocols. Ann Oncol 22 (5): 1228-35, 2011.

  17. Ozaki T, Flege S, Kevric M, et al.: Osteosarcoma of the pelvis: experience of the Cooperative Osteosarcoma Study Group. J Clin Oncol 21 (2): 334-41, 2003.

  18. DeLaney TF, Park L, Goldberg SI, et al.: Radiotherapy for local control of osteosarcoma. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 61 (2): 492-8, 2005.

  19. Ciernik IF, Niemierko A, Harmon DC, et al.: Proton-based radiotherapy for unresectable or incompletely resected osteosarcoma. Cancer 117 (19): 4522-30, 2011.

  20. 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.

  21. Guadagnolo BA, Zagars GK, Raymond AK, et al.: Osteosarcoma of the jaw/craniofacial region: outcomes after multimodality treatment. Cancer 115 (14): 3262-70, 2009.

  22. 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.

  23. Provisor AJ, Ettinger LJ, Nachman JB, et al.: Treatment of nonmetastatic osteosarcoma of the extremity with preoperative and postoperative chemotherapy: a report from the Children's Cancer Group. J Clin Oncol 15 (1): 76-84, 1997.

  24. Bacci G, Picci P, Avella M, et al.: Effect of intra-arterial versus intravenous cisplatin in addition to systemic adriamycin and high-dose methotrexate on histologic tumor response of osteosarcoma of the extremities. J Chemother 4 (3): 189-95, 1992.

  25. Cassano WF, Graham-Pole J, Dickson N: Etoposide, cyclophosphamide, cisplatin, and doxorubicin as neoadjuvant chemotherapy for osteosarcoma. Cancer 68 (9): 1899-902, 1991.

  26. Voûte PA, Souhami RL, Nooij M, et al.: A phase II study of cisplatin, ifosfamide and doxorubicin in operable primary, axial skeletal and metastatic osteosarcoma. European Osteosarcoma Intergroup (EOI). Ann Oncol 10 (10): 1211-8, 1999.

  27. Ferrari S, Smeland S, Mercuri M, et al.: Neoadjuvant chemotherapy with high-dose Ifosfamide, high-dose methotrexate, cisplatin, and doxorubicin for patients with localized osteosarcoma of the extremity: a joint study by the Italian and Scandinavian Sarcoma Groups. J Clin Oncol 23 (34): 8845-52, 2005.

  28. Zalupski MM, Rankin C, Ryan JR, et al.: Adjuvant therapy of osteosarcoma--A Phase II trial: Southwest Oncology Group study 9139. Cancer 100 (4): 818-25, 2004.

  29. Meyers PA, Schwartz CL, Krailo M, et al.: Osteosarcoma: a randomized, prospective trial of the addition of ifosfamide and/or muramyl tripeptide to cisplatin, doxorubicin, and high-dose methotrexate. J Clin Oncol 23 (9): 2004-11, 2005.

  30. Daw NC, Neel MD, Rao BN, et al.: Frontline treatment of localized osteosarcoma without methotrexate: results of the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital OS99 trial. Cancer 117 (12): 2770-8, 2011.

  31. Anninga JK, Gelderblom H, Fiocco M, et al.: Chemotherapeutic adjuvant treatment for osteosarcoma: where do we stand? Eur J Cancer 47 (16): 2431-45, 2011.

  32. Smeland S, Müller C, Alvegard TA, et al.: Scandinavian Sarcoma Group Osteosarcoma Study SSG VIII: prognostic factors for outcome and the role of replacement salvage chemotherapy for poor histological responders. Eur J Cancer 39 (4): 488-94, 2003.

  33. Meyers PA, Schwartz CL, Krailo MD, et al.: Osteosarcoma: the addition of muramyl tripeptide to chemotherapy improves overall survival--a report from the Children's Oncology Group. J Clin Oncol 26 (4): 633-8, 2008.

  34. Canadian Society of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Oncology Study Group.: Osteogenic sarcoma of the mandible and maxilla: a Canadian review (1980-2000). J Otolaryngol 33 (3): 139-44, 2004.

  35. Ha PK, Eisele DW, Frassica FJ, et al.: Osteosarcoma of the head and neck: a review of the Johns Hopkins experience. Laryngoscope 109 (6): 964-9, 1999.

  36. Kassir RR, Rassekh CH, Kinsella JB, et al.: Osteosarcoma of the head and neck: meta-analysis of nonrandomized studies. Laryngoscope 107 (1): 56-61, 1997.

  37. Laskar S, Basu A, Muckaden MA, et al.: Osteosarcoma of the head and neck region: lessons learned from a single-institution experience of 50 patients. Head Neck 30 (8): 1020-6, 2008.

  38. Patel SG, Meyers P, Huvos AG, et al.: Improved outcomes in patients with osteogenic sarcoma of the head and neck. Cancer 95 (7): 1495-503, 2002.

  39. Gadwal SR, Gannon FH, Fanburg-Smith JC, et al.: Primary osteosarcoma of the head and neck in pediatric patients: a clinicopathologic study of 22 cases with a review of the literature. Cancer 91 (3): 598-605, 2001.

  40. Daw NC, Mahmoud HH, Meyer WH, et al.: Bone sarcomas of the head and neck in children: the St Jude Children's Research Hospital experience. Cancer 88 (9): 2172-80, 2000.

  41. Jasnau S, Meyer U, Potratz J, et al.: Craniofacial osteosarcoma Experience of the cooperative German-Austrian-Swiss osteosarcoma study group. Oral Oncol 44 (3): 286-94, 2008.

  42. Smeele LE, Snow GB, van der Waal I: Osteosarcoma of the head and neck: meta-analysis of the nonrandomized studies. Laryngoscope 108 (6): 946, 1998.

Osteosarcoma and MFH of Bone With Metastatic Disease at Diagnosis

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.[1]

The lung is the most common site of initial metastatic disease.[2] Patients with metastases limited to the lungs have a better outcome than patients with metastases to other sites or to the lungs combined with other sites.[1][3]

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.[4] 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).[5] 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.[6]

Lung Metastases Only

Patients with metastatic lung lesions as the sole site of metastatic disease should have the lung lesions resected if at all possible. Generally, this is done following administration of preoperative chemotherapy. In approximately 10% of patients, all lung lesions disappear following preoperative chemotherapy.[3] Complete resection of pulmonary metastatic disease can be achieved in a high percentage of patients with residual lung nodules following 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 one or two nodules, and bilateral lung involvement is worse than unilateral.[1] Patients with peripheral lesions may have a better prognosis than those with central lesions.[7] Patients with fewer than three nodules confined to one lung may achieve a 5-year EFS of approximately 40% to 50%.

Bone Only or Bone With Lung Metastasis

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.[1] 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.[8] Patients who have transarticular skip lesions have a poor prognosis.[9]

Multifocal osteosarcoma is different from osteosarcoma which 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.[10][11]

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.

Current Clinical Trials

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.

General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.

References:

  1. 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.

  2. Kaste SC, Pratt CB, Cain AM, et al.: Metastases detected at the time of diagnosis of primary pediatric extremity osteosarcoma at diagnosis: imaging features. Cancer 86 (8): 1602-8, 1999.

  3. Bacci G, Rocca M, Salone M, et al.: High grade osteosarcoma of the extremities with lung metastases at presentation: treatment with neoadjuvant chemotherapy and simultaneous resection of primary and metastatic lesions. J Surg Oncol 98 (6): 415-20, 2008.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Daw NC, Billups CA, Pappo AS, et al.: Malignant fibrous histiocytoma and other fibrohistiocytic tumors in pediatric patients: the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital experience. Cancer 97 (11): 2839-47, 2003.

  7. 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.

  8. Bacci G, Fabbri N, Balladelli A, et al.: Treatment and prognosis for synchronous multifocal osteosarcoma in 42 patients. J Bone Joint Surg Br 88 (8): 1071-5, 2006.

  9. Kager L, Zoubek A, Kastner U, et al.: Skip metastases in osteosarcoma: experience of the Cooperative Osteosarcoma Study Group. J Clin Oncol 24 (10): 1535-41, 2006.

  10. Harris MB, Gieser P, Goorin AM, et al.: Treatment of metastatic osteosarcoma at diagnosis: a Pediatric Oncology Group Study. J Clin Oncol 16 (11): 3641-8, 1998.

  11. 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.

Recurrent Osteosarcoma and MFH of Bone

Approximately 50% of relapses occur within 18 months of therapy termination, and only 5% of recurrences develop beyond 5 years.[1][2][3][4] 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.[1] The probability of developing lung metastases at 5 years is 28% in patients presenting with localized disease.[5] 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%).[4][6] Abdominal metastases are rare but may occur as late as 4 years after diagnosis.[7]

Patients with recurrent osteosarcoma should be assessed for surgical resectability, as they may sometimes be cured with aggressive surgical resection with or without chemotherapy.[8][6][9][10][11][12] Control of osteosarcoma following 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% following complete resection of metastatic pulmonary tumors and a 20% survival rate following complete resection of metastases at other sites.[4][6][12][13]

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 shown activity in as many as one-third of patients with recurrent osteosarcoma who have not previously received this drug.[14][15][16][17] Cyclophosphamide and etoposide have activity in recurrent osteosarcoma as does the combination of gemcitabine and docetaxel.[18][19][20] The Italian Sarcoma Group reported rare objective responses and disease stabilization with sorafenib in patients with recurrent osteosarcoma.[21] 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.[22][23][24][25] Toxicity of samarium-153-EDTMP is primarily hematologic.[26][Level of evidence: 3iiDiii]

Lung Only Recurrence

Repeated resections of pulmonary recurrences can lead to extended disease control and possibly cure for some patients.[13][27] Survival for patients with unresectable metastatic disease is less than 5%.[6][28] Five-year event free survival (EFS) for patients who have complete surgical resection of all pulmonary metastases ranges from 20% to 45%.[4][12][13]; [29][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.[4][5][6][30][31]

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.[30] 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).[32] 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.[33] 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.[30] The latter experience included both patients with metastases at initial presentation and patients with metastatic recurrence.

Recurrence With Bone Metastases Only

Patients with osteosarcoma who develop bone metastases have a poor prognosis. In one large series, the 5-year EFS rate was 11%.[34] Patients with late solitary bone relapse have a 5-year EFS rate of approximately 30%.[34][35][36][37] 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.[26]

Local Recurrence

The postrelapse outcome of patients who have a local recurrence is quite poor.[38][39][40]

Two retrospective, single-institution series reported 10% to 40% survival following local recurrence without associated systemic metastasis.[41][42][43][44] The survival for patients with local recurrence and either prior or concurrent systemic metastases is poor.[43] 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.[38][42]

Second Recurrence of Osteosarcoma

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 remain alive who did not achieve surgical remission, but follow-up for these patients was extremely short.[45]

Treatment Options Under Clinical Evaluation for Recurrent Osteosarcoma

Clinical trials (phases I and II) are appropriate for patients with unresectable metastatic disease and should be considered. Information about ongoing clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site. Examples of these trials include the following:

  • COG-ADVL1014 (Viral Therapy in Treating Young Patients With Relapsed or Refractory Solid Tumors): A phase I study of wild-type reovirus (Reolysin), a replication-competent retrovirus, in pediatric patients with relapsed or refractory solid tumors.
  • COG-ADVL1115 (Trebananib in Treating Younger Patients With Relapsed or Refractory Solid Tumors, Including Central Nervous System Tumors): A phase I study of trebananib, an angiopoietin-neutralizing peptibody, in children with relapsed or refractory solid tumors, including central nervous system tumors.

Current Clinical Trials

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.

General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.

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This information is provided by the National Cancer Institute.

This information was last updated on November 27, 2013.

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