Frequently fatal, and defined as soft tissue tumors with unknown causes, Osteosarcomas are the second most commonly occurring primary bone malignancies, and the sixth leading cancer in children under the age of 15 years old due to their bones growing quickly during those years. Osteosarcomas may also affect the elderly, especially if they have undergone previous radiation therapies or have large or deformed bones.
Solid, hard, and irregularly shaped malignant soft connective tissue tumors Osteosarcomas most often are located on the tibia, the humerus from the elbow to the shoulder, or the femur, but may be found at the end of other long bones in the body as well, especially around the knees, the hips, the shoulders, and the jaws in Cadman Triangles caused by the sarcoma raising the periosteum membrane on the bone’s outer surface away from the bone.
Characterized by bone formations within the tumor, with possible giant-sized pleomorphic cells of various shapes, and numerous atypical mitosis, Osteosarcoma cells produce osteoid proteins, and trabecula fibrous tissues with or without calcification, that may be subclassified into cartilage cells, bone cells, or fibroblast cells.
Recurring pain and swelling, limited range of motion, and tenderness at the tumor site may be the first symptoms displayed in many patients with Osteosarcomas whose weaker bones can easily fracture with minor traumas to them.
Because most bone tumors are benign Osteosarcomas may be mistakenly misdiagnosed as cysts or muscle problems, and may not be originally X-rayed. Other tools that can further assist doctors in correctly determining Osteosarcomas are physical examinations, family and patient histories, blood tests, CT scans of the chest to see if the tumor has spread to the lungs, a condition that may adversely affect the long term survival rate of the patient, PET scans, MRIs, and bone scans, however, biopsies remain the definitive method used to detect the malignancy of bone tumors.
Treatment options for patients with Osteosarcomas usually begin after the biopsy’s results are known, and chemotherapies such as Ifosfamide, Doxorubicin, Carboplatin, Cisplatin, and Methotrexate are administered prior to the surgical removal of the sarcoma.
Stage One Low-Grade Osteosarcomas are the slowest growing forms of the disease, look more like normal bones, have fewer dividing cells, and may include Intramedullary Osteosarcomas, Intraosseous Osteosarcomas, and Parasteal Osteosarcomas.
Stage Two High-Grade Osteosarcomas are the fastest developing subtype of the disease, do not look like bones, have many dividing cells, and may include Small Cell, Fibroblastic, Osteoblastic, Telangiectatic, Chondroblastic, Juxtacortical, Mixed, Pagetoid, Extraskeletal, and Post-Radiation forms.
Surviving Stage Three Osteosarcomas with lung metastasis depends on several factors including the resectability of lung nodules, the resectability of the tumor, the primary tumor’s necrosis, and the number of metastasis that have occurred in other locations in the body.
This article was compiled from several websites that provide much more information on Osteosarcomas including: