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types of bone sarcoma

Osteosarcoma is the most common bone cancer. It starts in bone cells that make new bone tissue. It usually forms at the end of long bones, such as the leg bones, but can form in any bone. It is most common in teenagers and in adults older than 65 years. Malignant fibrous histiocytoma of bone is a very rare bone cancer. It is treated like osteosarcoma.

Ewing sarcoma includes several types of bone tumors. Ewing sarcoma tumors usually form in the hip bones, the ribs, or in the middle of long bones. The disease occurs most often in teenagers and young adults. Ewing tumors are most common in bone but can also form in soft tissue.

Having past treatment with radiation can increase the risk of osteosarcoma. A small number of bone cancers are caused by inherited conditions. Signs and symptoms of bone tumors include a lump, swelling, and pain.

Bone cancer is rare. Most bone tumors are benign (not cancer).

Anatomy of the bone; drawing shows spongy bone, red marrow, and yellow marrow. A cross section of the bone shows compact bone and blood vessels in the bone marrow. Also shown are red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and a blood stem cell.ENLARGE
Anatomy of the bone. The bone is made up of compact bone, spongy bone, and bone marrow.

Ewing sarcoma is a type of tumor that forms in bone or soft tissue. It is a type of tumor that forms from a certain kind of cell in bone or soft tissue and may be found in the bones of the legs, arms, feet, hands, chest, pelvis, spine, or skull. It also may be found in the soft tissue of the trunk, arms, legs, head and neck, abdominal cavity, or other areas.

Ewing sarcoma is the most common in adolescents and young adults and has also been called peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumor, Askin tumor (Ewing sarcoma of the chest wall), extraosseous Ewing sarcoma (Ewing sarcoma in tissue other than bone), and Ewing sarcoma family of tumors.

Signs and symptoms of Ewing sarcoma include swelling and pain near the tumor. These and other signs and symptoms may be caused by Ewing sarcoma or by other conditions. Check with your child’s doctor if your child has any of the following:


  • Pain and/or swelling, usually in the arms, legs, chest, back, or pelvis.

  • A lump (which may feel soft and warm) in the arms, legs, chest, or pelvis.

  • Fever for no known reason.

  • A bone that breaks for no known reason.

Chondrosarcoma is a type of sarcoma that affects the bones and joints. It is a rare cancer that accounts for about 20% of bone tumors and is diagnosed in approximately 600 patients each year in the United States.1 Chondrosarcoma typically affects adults between the age of 20 and 60 years old, and it is more common in men. The disease usually starts in the bones of the arms, legs or pelvis, but it can be found in any part of the body that contains cartilage. Sometimes chondrosarcoma grows on an otherwise healthy bone, and sometimes it grows on a benign bone tumor (an enchondroma or osteochondroma).

There are several types of chondrosarcoma that are named based on the way that they appear under the microscope. These include:


  • Conventional chondrosarcoma

  • Clear cell chondrosarcoma

  • Myxoid chondrosarcoma

  • Mesenchymal chondrosarcoma

  • Dedifferentiated chondrosarcoma

Mesenchymal chondrosarcoma is a malignant type of chondrosarcoma, or cancer of cartilage. Approximately two thirds of cases of mesenchymal chondrosarcoma occur in bone while the rest occur in places outside of the bone—i.e., in extra-skeletal locations. Unlike other types of malignant chondrosarcoma, which have a tendency to grow more slowly and rarely develop metastases, mesenchymal chondrosarcoma is a fast growing tumor that spreads more often. At the same time, it can remain dormant for long periods of time. It tends to affect children and young adults, but is a rare tumor, accounting for less than 1% of all sarcomas (Weis and Huvos).

Mesenchymal Chondrosarcoma was originally described in 1959 by Lichtenstein and Bernstein in the journal Cancer.

Mesenchymal chondrosarcoma is thought to originate from cartilage precursor cells, or chondroblasts, that have failed to develop into mature chondrocytes. Chondrocytes are the cells found in normal cartilage. The designation "mesenchymal" refers to the appearance of the tumor cells as primitive looking connective tissue cells.


National Institutes of Health; National Cancer Institute

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