Osteosarcoma is a type of cancer that produces immature bone. It is the most common type of cancer that arises in bones, and it is usually found at the end of long bones, often around the knee. Most people diagnosed with osteosarcoma are under the age of 25, and it is more common in males than females.

The cause of osteosarcoma is not fully understood, but it is believed to be related to rapid bone growth, such as during adolescence. Symptoms of osteosarcoma include pain in the affected bone (often around the knee or in the upper arm), swelling, and decreased joint movement. If the cancer is deep within the body, there may not be any symptoms until the cancer has reached a large size.


To diagnose osteosarcoma, a doctor will take a medical history and perform a physical exam. They may also conduct imaging tests, such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs, and may perform a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.

Osteosarcoma can be treated with surgery to remove the cancer, chemotherapy to kill cancer cells, or radiation therapy to destroy the cancer. Treatment often involves a combination of these methods.

The prognosis for osteosarcoma depends on various factors, including the location of the tumor, the size of the tumor, and whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. However, early diagnosis and treatment can improve the chances of surviving this disease.

Causes of Osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma is the most common type of cancer that develops in bone. It is most frequently found in teenagers and young adults, especially those who are undergoing a period of rapid growth.

The exact cause of osteosarcoma is not known, however, several factors are believed to contribute:

1. Genes: Genetic mutations may play a role. Some genetic disorders such as Li-Fraumeni or Rothmund-Thomson syndromes can increase the risk of developing osteosarcoma.

2. Rapid Bone Growth: Osteosarcoma often develops in periods of rapid bone growth, like adolescence, which suggests that rapid bone growth and related changes may contribute to the development of this type of cancer.

3. Radiation: Exposure to large amounts of radiation, like the kind used in radiotherapy for other types of cancer, can increase the risk of developing osteosarcoma.

4. Bone Diseases: Certain noncancerous bone diseases, like Paget’s disease of bone, can increase the risk of osteosarcoma.

5. Gender & Age: Males are more likely to get osteosarcoma than females, and as mentioned earlier, it’s more common in teenagers and young adults.

Despite these potential risk factors, it’s important to note that most people who develop osteosarcoma do not have any known risk factors. It is a relatively rare cancer, and the majority of bone cancers are not osteosarcoma.

Risk Factors of Osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma is a type of bone cancer that generally affects children and young adults, but it can occur at any age. While the exact cause is unknown, several risk factors have been identified:

1. Age: Osteosarcoma is most commonly found in teenagers and young adults, coinciding with their growth spurts. However, there’s another peak in incidence among those over age 60.

2. Gender: Males are more likely to develop osteosarcoma than females.

3. Height: One theory is that rapid bone growth (as in taller-than-average individuals) can potentially increase the likelihood of errors in cell division, which can result in cancer.

4. Genetic disorders: Certain conditions like Retinoblastoma, Li Fraumeni Syndrome, Rothmund-Thomson syndrome, and other genetic mutations increase the risk of osteosarcoma.

5. Previous treatment with radiation: Those who’ve been exposed to radiation for treatments of other cancers have an increased risk of osteosarcoma.

6. Paget’s disease of bone: This is a chronic disorder that can result in enlarged or deformed bones in one or more parts of the skeleton, including an increased risk of bone cancer.

7. Bone marrow transplant: Individuals who have had a bone marrow transplant also have a higher risk of osteosarcoma.

Remember, having one or more of these risk factors doesn’t guarantee that osteosarcoma will develop. It simply increases the likelihood, and many people with these risk factors never develop the disease. Nonetheless, if you fall into any of these high-risk groups, it’s important to discuss this with your doctor for early detection strategies and overall management.

Signs and Symptoms of Osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma is a type of bone cancer that often affects the long bones in the body such as those present in the arms and legs. Here are some signs and symptoms of Osteosarcoma:

1. Pain: Typically, pain in the affected bone (often around the knee or in the upper arm) is the most common symptom. This pain might not be constant and could be worse during exercise or at night.

2. Swelling: Swelling or redness near the area where the pain is localized may occur. Over time, a noticeable lump or mass may be felt.

3. Bone fractures: Because osteosarcoma can weaken the bone it sits in, this might result in fractures. Sometimes, these fractures occur after a routine action, such as running or jumping, or even nothing obvious at all.

4. Decreased mobility: A person may face difficulty in moving the affected limb, which can be an indicator. If the tumour is near a joint, it can make normal movements difficult or painful.

5. Weight loss: Unexpected weight loss or decrease in appetite may also indicate osteosarcoma or other cancers.

6. Fatigue or general discomfort: The body may respond to the presence of cancer by feeling unusually tired or ill.

Remember, these symptoms can be caused by conditions other than osteosarcoma. If you or your loved one are experiencing these symptoms, you should immediately consult with your healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis. Most bone pain has a more common cause, such as an injury or arthritis, especially in adults.

Diagnosis Osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma is a type of cancer that originates in the cells responsible for forming new bone. It is the most common form of bone cancer. The condition is most frequently found in teenagers and young adults, often around the growth plate areas in long bones such as the thigh and shin, but it can potentially occur at any age or part of any bone.

The diagnosis of osteosarcoma typically involves multiple tests. The doctor will start by examining the patient physically, looking for signs of pain, swelling, tenderness, or restricted movement. This would be followed by imaging tests like X-rays, Computerized Tomography (CT) scans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans, and bone scans to detect the location and size of the tumor.

Additionally, a biopsy can confirm the diagnosis of osteosarcoma. In a biopsy, a small piece of the tumor is removed, either through a needle or through a small incision, and examined under a microscope.

Once osteosarcoma has been diagnosed, more tests may be done to determine the extent (stage) of the cancer. Staging tests may include blood tests, bone scans and additional CT or MRI scans. The stage of cancer helps decide what sort of treatment is needed and how successful the treatment might be.

Treatment of Osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma is a type of bone cancer that often affects children and young adults, although it can occur at any age. It is typically seen in the long bones of the body such as the thigh bone or shinbone, but can occur in any bone.

The treatment of osteosarcoma typically involves a combined approach of surgery and chemotherapy.

1. Surgery: The aim of surgery is to remove all of the tumor and a margin of healthy tissue around it to decrease the risk of recurrence. Surgery might involve:

Limb-salvaging surgery: During this surgery, the tumor along with a portion of the bone is removed and replaced with a metal implant or a bone graft from another part of the patient’s body or from a donor. The aim is to save the patient’s limb.

Amputation: In certain cases, if the tumor is large and reaches a critical area or the nearby nerves and blood vessels, amputation might be necessary.

2. Chemotherapy: This involves using anti-cancer drugs to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy is usually giving before surgery (neoadjuvant therapy) to shrink the tumor and make it easier to remove, and then again after surgery (adjuvant therapy) to kill any remaining cancer cells in the body.

3. Radiation Therapy: This is usually reserved for osteosarcoma that cannot be completely removed with surgery, or for treating the disease if it has spread to other parts of the body.

As treatment protocols can be quite intensive, the patient will also likely receive supportive therapies, such as physical therapy for mobility and strength, nutrition therapy to maintain energy and body weight, and psychological support.

In aggressive and advanced conditions, newer treatments like targeted therapy, immunotherapy, and cancer vaccines are also being studied in clinical trials.

The choice of treatment mainly depends on the size, location, and stage of the tumor, as well as the patient’s overall health. It is best for patients to discuss all their treatment options with their healthcare team.

Medications commonly used for Osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer most commonly found in teenagers and young adults, is often treated with a combination of surgery and chemotherapy. The most commonly used medications for osteosarcoma include:

1. Methotrexate: This is a high-dose medication that prevents the growth of cancer cells by interfering with their metabolism. It’s often administered in conjunction with the kidney-protecting drug leucovorin.

2. Cisplatin: This platinum-containing chemotherapy drug works by binding to and causing crosslinks in the DNA, which ultimately leads to cell death.

3. Doxorubicin (Adriamycin): This drug prevents the production of proteins that cancer cells need to replicate and grow. It’s often used as a first line treatment for osteosarcoma.

4. Ifosfamide: This narcotics work by stopping the growth of tumor cells. It’s used when osteosarcoma has spread to other parts of the body or has not responded to the primary treatment.

5. Etoposide: This medication interferes with DNA and stops cancer cells from dividing. This is used in cases of recurrent osteosarcoma that hasn’t responded to primary therapy.

It should be noted that these medications can be delivered through different routes such as directly into the bloodstream (intravenous), into a muscle (intramuscular), or orally. The specific medication Regimen will depend on the specifics of the patient’s disease including the location of the tumor, whether it has spread, and the patient’s general health.

Please remember to always consult a healthcare provider about any medications since these drugs come with their own set of risks and side effects.

Prevention of Osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer most common in teenagers, tends to occur in the long bones of the body, like the arms and legs. There’s no definitive way to prevent osteosarcoma, largely because the reasons behind why certain people develop it are not fully understood. However, there are several general recommendations that could possibly reduce the risk or help in early detection.

1. Healthy Lifestyle: A healthy diet and regular exercise can contribute to overall health and may help in maintaining strong bones.

2. Regular Medical Checkups: Regular health check-ups can help in the early diagnosis of any abnormalities.

3. Genetic Testing: If there’s a family history of bone cancer, it might be beneficial to undergo genetic testing to see if there are inherited mutations that could increase the risk.

4. Avoid Exposure to Radiation: Excessive exposure to radiotherapy and certain chemicals might increase the risk of bone cancer. So, it’s advisable to limit exposure if possible.

5. Bone Healthy Diet: Consuming a diet rich in vitamin D and calcium contributes to healthier bones.


6. Regular Exercise: Weight-bearing exercises like walking, running or lifting weights can help build strong, healthy bones.

Remember, while these tips can contribute to overall health and wellness, there’s no foolproof method to entirely prevent osteosarcoma due to the unclear causes of its development. It is always important to consult with healthcare professionals for advice tailored to individual health circumstances.

FAQ’s about Osteosarcoma

1. What is Osteosarcoma?
Osteosarcoma is a type of cancer that produces immature bone. It is the most common type of cancer that arises in bones, and it is usually found at the end of long bones, often around the knee.

2. What causes Osteosarcoma?
The exact cause of osteosarcoma is unknown, but it is thought to be due to a combination of genetic factors and certain growth-related factors in adolescence.

3. Who is most at risk for Osteosarcoma?
Osteosarcoma is most often diagnosed in children and young adults, particularly those between the ages of 10 and 20. It tends to occur more frequently in males than in females.

4. What are the symptoms of Osteosarcoma?
The most common symptoms of osteosarcoma include bone pain or tenderness, swelling near a bone, and increased pain with activity or at night.

5. How is Osteosarcoma diagnosed?
Osteosarcoma is usually diagnosed through a combination of physical exams, imaging tests such as X-rays or MRI, and a biopsy where a small sample of the tumor is removed for examination.

6. What are the treatment options for Osteosarcoma?
Treatment typically involves a combination of chemotherapy to shrink the tumor and surgery to remove it. In some cases, radiation therapy may also be used.

7. What is the prognosis for someone with Osteosarcoma?
The prognosis for osteosarcoma depends on many factors including the size and location of the tumor, the person’s age, the specific type of osteosarcoma, and whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

8. Can Osteosarcoma be prevented?
Since the cause of osteosarcoma is not fully understood, there are currently no known ways to prevent it.

9. Are there support groups for people with Osteosarcoma?
Yes, there are a number of organizations and online communities that provide support and resources for people diagnosed with osteosarcoma and their families.

10. What research is currently being done on Osteosarcoma?
Research is ongoing in many areas related to osteosarcoma, including better understanding the genetic and cellular basis of the disease, identifying new treatment options, and improving approaches to surgery and supportive care.

Remember to consult your healthcare provider for a full understanding of this condition in relation to your own health.

Useful links

Osteosarcoma is a type of bone cancer that typically develops in growing bones, like those of the arm or leg, during rapid growth stages such as adolescence. This condition is among the most common types of bone cancer in children and teens but it can also occur in adults.

Useful links from journals regarding osteosarcoma include:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33359211/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32326444/

These resources will give you a thorough understanding of osteosarcoma from its pathogenesis, epidemiology, current treatment strategies to potential therapeutic targets. Please remember each article’s access may depend on the journal’s access restrictions.

Complications of Osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer, primarily affecting teenagers during their growth spurts. It often begins in the osteoblast cells that form bones. Osteosarcoma can develop in any bone, but it most commonly affects the bones that are located around the knee, like upper part of the shinbone or the lower part of thighbone. However, it can also occur in the bones of the arm and pelvis. Here are some potential complications associated with this disease:

1. Metastasis: The most severe complication is the spread of cancer to other parts of the body (a process called metastasis), most commonly to the lungs or other bones.

2. Limb Abnormalities: When children are affected, treatments like surgery and radiation can interfere with normal bone growth and cause developmental issues in the limbs.

3. Functional Limitation: Surgery, especially limb-saving procedures or amputations, may leave the patient with limitations in the function of that limb.

4. Lung Damage: Chemotherapy and radiation treatment can lead to lung damage in some cases.

5. Secondary Cancers: Exposure to radiation and chemotherapy used to treat osteosarcoma may slightly increase the risk of secondary cancers later in life.

6. Emotional Stress: Besides physical complications, facing a diagnosis of osteosarcoma can have significant psychological and emotional impacts, leading to issues such as depression, anxiety, and stress-related disorders.

Patient’s overall health, severity of the disease, and the treatment effectiveness influence these complications’ extent. Hence, early detection and an effective treatment plan can mitigate some of these complications.

Home remedies of Osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma is a type of bone cancer that commonly affects children and adolescents, but it can also occur in adults. It is important to note that no home remedy can effectively treat osteosarcoma or any other form of cancer. Treatment of osteosarcoma often involves a combination of therapies, such as chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation.

However, there are supportive measures and home care practices which may aid osteosarcoma patients, along with a medically supervised treatment plan. Here are a few:

1. Proper Nutrition: A balanced diet helps strengthen the immune system. Increasing the intake of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins can aid in maintaining the overall health of the patient.

2. Exercise: With medical advice, low-impact exercises may help maintain bone strength, improve mood, and improve overall health.

3. Pain Management: Over-the-counter analgesics can help manage pain. Complementary therapies such as acupuncture, massages, and meditation might also help in some cases.

4. Emotional Support: Joining support groups or seeking psychological advice can be beneficial in managing the emotional stress and anxiety that may come with the diagnosis.

5. Rest: Adequate rest can promote healing and recovery and is crucial when undergoing treatments.

These supportive measures can make dealing with osteosarcoma and its treatment more comfortable but they cannot replace the need for professional medical advice and treatment. It is vital to consult with a healthcare professional or oncologist to ensure the best possible outcome.

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Last Update: January 10, 2024