Diagnosis and Treatment Options for Osteosarcoma | Oncology


What is osteosarcoma?

Osteosarcoma (Osteogenic sarcoma) is cancer that begins in the bone. It often begins at the ends of the bones, where new bone tissue forms as the youngster grow. The bones of the thigh, upper arm, and shin are common, but osteoporosis can occur anywhere on the body. It usually develops rapidly during adolescence when a young person matures into an adult.

Osteosarcoma is the most malignant bone tumour in adolescence. The median age at diagnosis was 15 years. Boys and girls have this tumour until the end of adolescence, during which time boys are the most affected.

The cause of osteosarcoma is unknown. Osteoporosis is very rare in families. The gene that suppresses the defective tumour that allows tumours to grow is linked to the risk of the disease and is also associated with familial retinoblastoma, a childhood eye cancer. Children with familial retinoblastoma are at increased risk of developing osteoporosis during adolescence.

Alternate name

  • Osteogenic sarcoma

Types of osteosarcoma

Oncologists have two ways of classifying different types of osteosarcoma. First, they must determine whether the osteoporosis is primary (occurring as a result of an abnormal bone development) or secondary (occurring as a result of another condition).

Primary osteosarcomas are more likely to be diagnosed in children and adolescents who are still growing, while secondary osteosarcomas are more likely to occur in fully formed adults. Since secondary osteoporosis is generally considered to have a higher degree of malignancy than primary osteoporosis, the treatment recommendations are different for each.

Causes of osteosarcoma

Researchers have found that osteoporosis is linked to several other conditions, which are described in terms of risk factors for osteosarcoma.

Scientists have discovered that certain changes in the DNA of bone cells can lead to cancer. DNA is the chemical in each of our cells that makes up our genes, which control how our cells work. We generally look like our parents because they are the source of our DNA. But DNA affects more than how we see it. It affects our risk of developing certain diseases, including certain types of cancer.

Some cells (parts of our DNA) control when our cells grow, divide, and die to make new cells:

  • Oncogenes are genes that help cells grow, divide, or stay alive.
  • Cancer is caused by genetic changes that turn on oncogenes or stop tumour suppressor genes.

Some people inherit genetic mutations (changes) from their parents that increase their risk of cancer. In this condition, all cells in the body have the same genetic mutation. These are called germline or inherited mutations. But most of the time, cancerous changes are acquired in life rather than inherited before birth. In this case, the change is only in the cells that are turning into cancer. These are called somatic or acquired genetic changes. 

Symptoms of osteosarcoma

The most common symptoms of osteosarcoma are:

  • Pain or tenderness in the bones.
  • The mass (tumour) experienced by the skin.
  • Swelling and redness at the tumour site.
  • Increased pain when lifting objects (if it affects one arm).
  • Limping (if it affects one leg).
  • Limited movement (if it affects the joint).
  • Broken bone (sometimes after normal movement). 

Risk factors

Numerous risk factors for osteosarcoma have been identified through specialized research. These risk factors for symptoms, both genetic and inherited, are often found in people with osteoporosis. Leaving aside those that are directly related to the patient’s age, the risk factors are generally the same for children and adults.

The most common risk factors for osteosarcoma are:

  • Being a child or adolescent with rapid bone growth (some studies suggest that children older than their age are more likely to develop osteoporosis because their bones grow faster).
  • Hereditary syndromes such as hereditary retinoblastoma, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Rothmund-Thompson syndrome, Bloom syndrome, Werner syndrome, or Diamond-Blackfone anaemia
  • You have undergone a course of radiation therapy for previous bone cancer (high dose of radiation, which increases the risk of osteoporosis).
  • Having a cancer-free bone disease, such as Paget’s disease or osteochondroma.
  • Being a man (women who develop osteoporosis develop slightly earlier than men, and women often experience prior “growth”) 

Diagnosis of osteosarcoma

The doctor begins with a complete medical history and physical exam. The doctor asks about the child’s symptoms and medical history; For example, if the child has ever had radiation therapy or if a family member has certain inherited conditions.

The doctor may also use certain tests when making a diagnosis. In addition to:

  • Blood tests: These tests can provide information about blood counts and how well organs such as the kidneys and liver are working. There is no blood test to detect the presence of a bone tumour.
  • X-ray: An x-ray is done to see abnormal growth in the bones. A chest X-ray may then be done to see if cancer has spread to the lungs.
  • Computed tomography (CT): CT scan uses computers to combine multiple X-ray images into cross-sectional views of the inside of the body. This test is used to diagnose any tumour in the lungs.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): MRI uses a large magnet, radio waves, and a computer to create clear images of the body. If the radiograph is not normal, it may be requested to obtain clear images.
  • Bone scan: This test uses a small amount of radioactive material injected into the body to detect bone disorders.
  • Positron emission tomography: This test uses a special glucose marker that is concentrated on cancer cells and shows additional areas of the body where glucose is absorbed.
  • Biopsy: This is a procedure that removes a piece of tissue from the affected area to study the presence of cancer cells under a microscope.

Treatment for osteosarcoma

Specific treatment for osteosarcoma imperfect is determined by your doctor based on:

  • Your age, general health, and medical history
  • Disease prevalence
  • Your patience for specific medications, procedures, or treatments.
  • Estimates of the course of the disease.
  • Your opinion or preference

To date, there is no cure, medicine, or surgery to cure Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI). The goal of treatment is to prevent deformities and fractures and to allow the child to function as independently as possible.

Treatments to prevent or correct symptoms may include:

  • Crack care
  • Surgery
  • Road: A procedure in which a metal bar is used to stabilize the length of a long bone and prevent deformity.
  • Dental procedures
  • Physical therapy
  • Auxiliary equipment such as wheelchairs, braces, and other custom-made equipment.


Since OI is a genetic disease, it cannot be prevented. The expectant father must know something about the risk of OI for the baby.

Departments to consult for this condition

  • Department of oncology

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