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Treatment Option Overview

Successful treatment generally requires the combination of effective systemic chemotherapy and complete resection of all clinically detectable disease. Protective weight bearing is recommended for patients with tumors of weight-bearing bones to prevent pathological fractures that could preclude limb-preserving surgery.

Randomized clinical trials have established that both neoadjuvant and adjuvant chemotherapy are effective in preventing relapse in patients with clinically nonmetastatic tumors.[1,2] The Pediatric Oncology Group conducted a study in which patients were randomly assigned either to immediate amputation or amputation after neoadjuvant therapy. A large percentage of patients declined to be assigned randomly, and the study was terminated without approaching the stated accrual goals. In the small number of patients treated, there was no difference in outcome for those who received preoperative versus postoperative chemotherapy.[3] It is imperative that patients with proven or suspected osteosarcoma have an initial evaluation by an orthopedic oncologist familiar with the surgical management of this disease. This evaluation, which includes imaging studies, should be done prior to the initial biopsy, since an inappropriately performed biopsy may jeopardize a limb-sparing procedure.

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Recognition of intraosseous well-differentiated osteosarcoma and parosteal osteosarcoma is important because these are associated with the most favorable prognosis and can be treated successfully with wide excision of the primary tumor alone.[4,5] Periosteal osteosarcoma has a generally good prognosis [6] and treatment is guided by histologic grade.[5,7]


  1. Eilber F, Giuliano A, Eckardt J, et al.: Adjuvant chemotherapy for osteosarcoma: a randomized prospective trial. J Clin Oncol 5 (1): 21-6, 1987.
  2. Link MP, Goorin AM, Miser AW, et al.: The effect of adjuvant chemotherapy on relapse-free survival in patients with osteosarcoma of the extremity. N Engl J Med 314 (25): 1600-6, 1986.
  3. Goorin AM, Schwartzentruber DJ, Devidas M, et al.: Presurgical chemotherapy compared with immediate surgery and adjuvant chemotherapy for nonmetastatic osteosarcoma: Pediatric Oncology Group Study POG-8651. J Clin Oncol 21 (8): 1574-80, 2003.
  4. Hoshi M, Matsumoto S, Manabe J, et al.: Oncologic outcome of parosteal osteosarcoma. Int J Clin Oncol 11 (2): 120-6, 2006.
  5. Schwab JH, Antonescu CR, Athanasian EA, et al.: A comparison of intramedullary and juxtacortical low-grade osteogenic sarcoma. Clin Orthop Relat Res 466 (6): 1318-22, 2008.
  6. Rose PS, Dickey ID, Wenger DE, et al.: Periosteal osteosarcoma: long-term outcome and risk of late recurrence. Clin Orthop Relat Res 453: 314-7, 2006.
  7. Grimer RJ, Bielack S, Flege S, et al.: Periosteal osteosarcoma--a European review of outcome. Eur J Cancer 41 (18): 2806-11, 2005.

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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