Skip to content

Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Staging and Site Information

    Historically, the Enneking staging system for skeletal malignancies was widely used.[1] This system inferred the aggressiveness of the primary tumor by the descriptors intracompartmental or extracompartmental. The American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) staging system for malignant bone tumors has updated this staging system, substituting compartmentalization with size (see Table 2).[2] The AJCC classification is as follows:

    Table 2. Definitions of TNM Stage I through Stage IVa

    StageTumor GradeTumor Size
    a Reprinted with permission from AJCC: Bone. In: Edge SB, Byrd DR, Compton CC, et al., eds.: AJCC Cancer Staging Manual. 7th ed. New York, NY: Springer, 2010, pp 281-90.
    b Skip metastases: discontinuous tumors in the primary bone site.
    IALow<8 cm
    IBLow>8 cm
    IIAHigh<8 cm
    IIBHigh>8 cm
    IIIAny tumor grade, skip metastasesb
    IVAny tumor grade, any tumor size, distant metastases

    For the purposes of treatment, there are only two stages of high-grade osteosarcoma. Patients without clinically detectable metastatic disease are considered to have localized osteosarcoma. Patients in whom it is possible to detect any site of metastasis at the time of initial presentation by routine clinical studies are considered to have metastatic osteosarcoma.

    For patients with confirmed osteosarcoma, in addition to plain x-rays of the primary site that include a single plane view of the entire affected extremity to assess for skip metastasis, pretreatment staging studies should include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and/or computed tomography (CT) scan of the primary site. Additional pretreatment staging studies should include bone scan, postero-anterior and lateral chest x-ray, and CT scan of the chest. Positron emission tomography (PET) using fluorine-18-fluorodeoxyglucose is an optional staging modality.[3]

    Localized Osteosarcoma

    Localized tumors are limited to the bone of origin. Patients with skip lesions confined to the bone which includes the primary tumor should be considered to have localized disease if the skip lesions can be included in the planned surgical resection.[4] Approximately one-half of the tumors arise in the femur; of these, 80% are in the distal femur. Other primary sites in descending order of frequency are the proximal tibia, proximal humerus, pelvis, jaw, fibula, and ribs.[5] Compared with osteosarcoma of the appendicular skeleton, osteosarcoma of the head and neck is more likely to be low grade [6] and to arise in older patients.


      Today on WebMD

      Colorectal cancer cells
      A common one in both men and women.
      Lung cancer xray
      See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
      sauteed cherry tomatoes
      Fight cancer one plate at a time.
      Ovarian cancer illustration
      Real Cancer Perspectives
      Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
      what is your cancer risk
      colorectal cancer treatment advances
      breast cancer overview slideshow
      prostate cancer overview
      lung cancer overview slideshow
      ovarian cancer overview slideshow
      Actor Michael Douglas