What Is Osteosarcoma? Know The Symptoms, Causes, Pathology

Osteosarcoma is a very serious type of cancer that can develop in the bones, most often in children and teens. It is a malignant tumor that rapidly spreads to other parts of the body, causing severe damage to the bone, muscle and soft tissue. This article will provide readers with information on what osteosarcoma is, its symptoms and what to do if they suspect they might have it or know someone who has been diagnosed.

What is Osteosarcoma?

Osteosarcoma is a type of bone cancer that originates in the bone. The cancerous cells spread quickly through the bone and can eventually metastasize to other parts of the body. Symptoms of osteosarcoma can include pain, swelling, and a decrease in bone mass. In most cases, symptoms develop slowly over time and are not immediately noticeable. If you are experiencing symptoms of osteosarcoma, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional as soon as possible to begin treatment.

Know The Symptoms of Osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma is a cancer that originates from the bone. It is the most common type in the long bones around the knees.other sites of osteosarcoma include the upper leg,or thigh bone, the lower leg,upper arm bone,or any bone in the body including pelvis, shoulder  and skull.

Types of osteosarcoma

Subtypes of osteosarcoma

Based on how the cancer cells look under the microscope, osteosarcomas can be classified as high grade, intermediate grade, or low grade. The grade of the tumor tells doctors how likely it is that the cancer will grow quickly and spread to other parts of the body.

1.High-grade osteosarcomas

These are the fastest growing types of osteosarcoma. When seen with a microscope, they do not look like normal bone, and many of the cancer cells are in the process of dividing into new cells. Most osteosarcomas that occur in children and teens are high grade. There are many types of high-grade osteosarcomas (although the first 3 are the most common).




Small cell


High-grade surface (juxtacortical high grade)

Other high-grade osteosarcomas include:

Pagetoid: a tumor that develops in someone with Paget disease of the bone

Extraskeletal: a tumor that starts in a part of the body other than a bone (but still makes bone tissue)

Post-radiation: a tumor that starts in a bone that had once been exposed to radiation

2.Intermediate-grade osteosarcomas

These uncommon tumors fall between high-grade and low-grade osteosarcomas. (They are usually treated the same way as low-grade osteosarcomas.)

Periosteal (juxtacortical intermediate grade)

3.Low-grade osteosarcomas

These are the slowest-growing osteosarcomas. The tumors look more like normal bone and have few dividing cells when seen with a microscope.

Parosteal (juxtacortical low grade)

Intramedullary or intraosseous well differentiated (low-grade central)

The grade of the tumor plays a role in determining its stage and the type of treatment used. For more on staging, see Osteosarcoma Stages.

Other types of bone tumors

Several other types of tumors can start in the bones.

Malignant (cancerous) bone tumors

Ewing tumors (Ewing sarcomas) are the second most common bone cancer in children. They are described in Ewing Family of Tumors.
Most other types of bone cancers are usually found in adults and are uncommon in children. These include:

Chondrosarcoma (cancer that develops from cartilage)

Undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma (UPS) of bone, previously known as malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH) of bone

Fibrosarcoma of bone


Malignant giant cell tumor of bone

For more information on these cancers, see Bone Cancer in Adults.
Many types of cancer that start in other organs of the body, especially cancers in adults, can spread to the bones. These are sometimes referred to as metastatic bone cancers, but they are not true bone cancers. For example, prostate cancer that spreads to the bones is still prostate cancer and is treated like prostate cancer. For more information, see Bone Metastasis.

Benign (non-cancerous) bone tumors

Not all bone tumors are cancer. Benign bone tumors do not spread to other parts of the body. They are usually not life threatening, and surgery can often remove them completely.
Chondrosarcomas are less common than sarcomas and account for about 15% of all cases. They develop from cartilage cells in the bones and typically affect older adults. Chondrosarcomas often do not spread beyond their primary site, but they can occasionally metastas

Causes of Osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma is a cancer that begins in the cells that form bones.most osteosarcoma arise as solitary lesions within the fastest growing areas of long bones of childrens.

The cause of osteosarcoma is not fully understood, but it is believed to be due to DNA mutations inside bone cells—either inherited or acquired after birth. but it is thought to result from damage to the cells that make up the bone tissue. This damage can happen as a result of some type of cancerous growth, infection, or injury.

The symptoms of osteosarcoma vary depending on the location and stage of the cancerous tumor. In general, however, people with osteosarcoma will experience pain in the affected area and may experience difficulty moving or breathing in that area.

If left untreated, osteosarcoma can spread rapidly to other parts of the body. Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.

Pathology of Osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma is a type of cancer that arises from the bone. It can occur in any bone in the body, but is most common in the skull and spine. Symptoms of osteosarcoma may include persistent pain, bleeding, or a swelling near the bone.

Osteosarcoma typically affects young adults, and can be fatal if not treated. The cause of Osteosarcoma is still unknown, but it is thought to result from abnormalities or mutations in genes that control cell growth and division. Treatment typically includes surgery to remove the tumor and chemotherapy or radiation therapy to help prevent recurrence.

Treatment for Osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma treatment typically involves surgery and chemotherapy. Radiation therapy might be an option in certain situations.


The goal of surgery is to remove all of the cancer cells. But planning the operation also takes into consideration how it will affect your ability to go about your daily life. The extent of surgery for osteosarcoma depends on several factors, such as the size of the tumor and its location.
Operations used to treat osteosarcoma include:

Surgery to remove the cancer only (limb-sparing surgery). Most osteosarcoma operations can be done in a way that removes all of the cancer and spares the limb so that function can be maintained. Whether this procedure is an option depends, in part, on the extent of the cancer and how much muscle and tissue need to be removed.
If a section of bone is removed, the surgeon will reconstruct the bone. The method of reconstruction depends on your particular situation, but options include metal prosthetics or bone grafts.

Surgery to remove the affected limb (amputation). With advancements in limb-sparing surgery, the need for amputation — removing a limb or part of a limb — has greatly reduced over the years. If amputation is necessary, advances in prosthetic joints can significantly improve outcomes and function.

Surgery to remove the lower portion of the leg (rotationplasty). In this surgery, sometimes used for children who are still growing, the surgeon removes the cancer and surrounding area, including the knee joint. The foot and ankle are then rotated, and the ankle functions as a knee. A prosthesis is used for the lower leg and foot. Results typically enable the person to function very well in physical activities, sports and daily living.


Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy treatment
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy treatment usually combines two or more drugs that can be administered as an infusion into a vein (IV), in pill form, or through both methods.
For osteosarcoma, chemotherapy is often recommended before surgery (neoadjuvant therapy). Doctors monitor how the cancer cells respond to the chemotherapy in order to plan further treatments.
If the osteosarcoma shrinks in response to the chemotherapy, it may make limb-sparing surgery possible.
If the osteosarcoma doesn’t respond to treatment, it may indicate the cancer is very aggressive. Doctors may recommend a different combination of chemotherapy drugs or suggest a more aggressive operation to ensure all the cancer is removed.
Chemotherapy can also be used after surgery to kill any cancer cells that might remain.
If osteosarcoma returns after surgery or spreads to other areas of the body, chemotherapy might be recommended to try to slow the growth of the disease.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams, such as X-rays and protons, to kill cancer cells. Radiation might be an option in certain situations, such as when surgery isn’t possible or if surgeons can’t remove all of the cancer during an operation.
During radiation therapy, the beams of energy are delivered from a machine that moves around you as you lie on a table. The beams are carefully directed to the area of the osteosarcoma in order to reduce the risk of damage to surrounding healthy cells
usually combines two or more drugs.

Management tools for Osteosarcoma Patients

Osteosarcoma is a type of bone cancer that arises from the soft tissues of the skeleton. It is the most common primary bone cancer in adults, accounting for 10 percent of all bone cancers. The average age at diagnosis is 60 years, but it can occur at any age.

Symptoms of osteosarcoma may include:

-A sudden pain in the arm or leg, especially when getting up from a sitting or lying position

-A mass or lump in the arm or leg

-Swelling around the lump

-Nausea and vomiting

-Weight loss


The most common cause of osteosarcoma is exposure to ionizing radiation, such as from a nuclear power plant accident. However, it can also be caused by a number of other factors, including:

-Heavy smoking

-Exposure to chemicals (such as asbestos)

-Infection with human papillomavirus (HPV)

There is no known cure for osteosarcoma, but treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Risk Factors for Osteosarcoma

There are several risk factors for osteosarcoma. Some of these include:

-being a male,

-having a family history of the disease,

-having a tumor larger than 2 cm in diameter at the time of diagnosis,

-having been treated for cancer in the past,

-being over 50 years old.

Other factors that may increase your risk include: having radiation therapy or chemotherapy treatments to your neck or head, being overweight, having a strong family history of cancer, and having certain genetic mutations.

Osteosarcoma is a rare form of cancer that occurs most often in older adults. Symptoms may include swelling or pain in the arm or shoulder, difficulty moving the arm or shoulder, and difficulty speaking. If left untreated, osteosarcoma can spread to other parts of the body and can be fatal.


Osteosarcoma is a cancer that predominantly affects the bones. It is the most common bone cancer and the fifth most common cancer in the United States.

The risk factors for osteosarcoma include:

– Being of African American descent

– Having a family history of the disease

– Being male

– Having a mutation in the KIT gene (most commonly found in Europeans)

– Having radiation therapy to the head or neck in the past 10 years

– Being a smoker

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