Chondrosarcoma

Chondrosarcoma develops in cartilage around bonesChondrosarcoma is rare since it belongs to the sarcoma family of bone tumors, but it is also the second most common primary bone cancer, which accounts for about 20% of bone tumors. Chondrosarcoma develops in cartilage around bones, invading the connective tissue protecting bones from grinding against one another. While the bone tumor can form anywhere in the body where cartilage exists, it most often attacks the cartilage cells of pelvis, spine, hipbones, thighbones, and knees. Other places where this type of bone tumor occasionally occurs include the larynx, trachea, chest wall, ribs, shoulder blade, or skull.

The disease typically affects adults between the age of 20 and 60 years old, developing in men more frequently than women. Chrondrosarcoma usually starts in the bones of extremities, such as the arms. Sometimes chondrosarcoma grows on healthy bone, but it is also known to grow on a benign bone tumor.

Chondrosarcoma is uncommon and not all doctors are experienced in treating this form of bone cancer. This is a disease best treated by an orthopedic oncologist like Dr. Daniel C. Allison who possesses the training and experience with osteosarcoma and other bone cancers that affect musculoskeletal systems. Contact Dr. Allison by calling (310) 730-8008. He specializes in limb preservation, bone and soft tissue tumors and has extensive experience in diagnosing and treating chondrosarcoma along with a multidisciplinary team of oncology specialists.


Characteristics of Chondrosarcoma

Chondrosarcomas behave in different ways depending upon the cell of origin, but many are low grade bone tumors. A specialist like Dr. Allison is very knowledgeable in the behavior of chondrosarcoma, which gives him the expertise to accurately diagnose its stage of development.

Characteristics of chrondrosarcoma include:

  • Low grade tumors – look and behave like normal cartilage with minor abnormality.
  • Intermediate grade tumors – look like normal cartilage cells, but they also show some malignant changes.
  • High grade tumors – appear less like normal cartilage with rapid growth and change.

Chrondrosarcoma subtypes:

  • Conventional and clear cell chondrosarcoma – low to intermediate grade, which are not very aggressive and remain in one place.
  • De-differentiated and mesenchymal chondrosarcoma – high grade tumors with aggressive behavior and spread. It is diagnosed in fewer than 10% of cases.

This bone tumor is a very different kind of chondrosarcoma that is especially difficult to treat. A part of the tumor appears to be a low to intermediate grade cartilage tumor, and it is located close to a high grade non-cartilage kind of sarcoma.

Symptoms & Diagnosis

The conditions which lead to chondrosarcoma are uncertain, but it is suspected that genetic abnormalities or damaged chromosomes could influence its development. Chondrosarcoma sometimes occurs in people with certain inherited diseases that cause the growth of benign cartilage tumors.

Some symptoms of chondrosarcoma include:

  • Sharp or dull pain at the tumor site, which can increase as it develops or is aggravated by exertion
  • Swelling or irritation at the tumor site
  • Large lump at the tumor site
  • Limited use or disabled limb

Tests and procedures used to diagnose chondrosarcoma include:

  • X-ray – depicts affected area for further examination
  • MRI and CT Scan – provides additional information
  • Biopsy – suspicious tissue removed with a needle and tested

A biopsy must be performed in a certain way so it does not adversely affect the surgery to remove the cancer afterwards. For this reason, you want a surgeon like Dr. Allison to conduct the biopsy. Along with his expertise with rare tumors such as chondrosarcoma, he is best suited for the operation to remove the bone cancer altogether. Surgery involves removing the cancer plus a small margin of healthy tissue around it.

Treatment

Dr. Allison will work with you to review all of your treatment options and choose the treatment that best suits your needs and goals. The range of treatments offered to people with chondrosarcoma includes a variety of surgery techniques, chemotherapy and radiation. If surgery is the recommended treatment, the type of surgery you undergo depends on the location of the chondrosarcoma. Many specialized techniques are available to achieve the best possible outcome and preserve the limb.

Other treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, are generally not effective for chondrosarcoma because it’s typically a very slow-growing cancer. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy target cells that grow very quickly. These other treatments may be useful if your chondrosarcoma is more aggressive.

Learn more about chondrosarcoma at WebMD.com.

Contact the Orthopedic Oncology Specialist

Dr. Daniel C. Allison is an orthopedic oncologist who specializes in the repair of musculoskeletal structures affected by cancer. Los Angeles’s Dr. Allison is renowned for leading multi-disciplinary oncology teams supplemented by his extensive expertise in sarcoma diagnosis and treatment. He is the ideal physician to coordinate the type of integrated medical plan chondrosarcoma requires. Call today to schedule a personal consultation at (310) 730-8008.


Next, learn more about Pleomorphic Sarcoma of Bone.

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