Osteosarcoma: symptoms and treatment

Osteosarcoma is a malignant tumor that is localized in bone tissue. In most cases, the development of such an oncological process is a primary disease, however, in some cases this disease acts as a complication of chronic osteomyelitis.

This disease is characterized by asymptomatic onset and early metastasis. Treatment is only complex, which includes surgical intervention, radiation and chemotherapy both before and after surgery.

According to the international classification of diseases, this disease refers to the section «malignant neoplasms of bones and articular cartilages,» the code for ICD-10 C40-C41.

There are no clear limitations on age and gender, however, it is noted that this disease is most often diagnosed in young people — from 10 to 40 years. Men suffer from this ailment more often than women. After 50 years, this disease is extremely rare.

Treatment of osteosarcoma with folk remedies is impossible and can only aggravate the development of the pathological process. The treatment program is determined only after the diagnostic measures that are prescribed by the doctor. Diagnostics includes laboratory and instrumental methods of investigation.


The exact etiological pattern has not yet been established. However, clinicians identify a number of predisposing factors that can trigger the development of osteosarcoma in adults or children:

  • presence of oncological disease in family history;
  • Previous radiation or chemotherapy
  • Paget’s disease;
  • chronic osteomyelitis
  • pathological fracture.

It should be noted that this cancer process does not develop due to a bruise, fracture or other mechanical damage to the skull, knee, shin or any other part of the musculoskeletal system.

At the same time, it should be noted that with frequent injuries of bones or diseases of the musculoskeletal system against the background of a weakened immune system, the risk of developing this illness increases significantly.


In most cases, the oncological process affects the tubular bones, the lower extremities are affected much more often than the upper ones.

In descending order, the localization of the disease is as follows:

  1. osteosarcoma of the femur (most often the distal end);
  2. bones of the shoulder joint
  3. Elbow joint
  4. jaw bone osteosarcoma
  5. Skull bones (most often this type of pathology is diagnosed in children).

Osteosarcoma of the frontal bone is rarely diagnosed.

By the nature of the growth of a malignant tumor, the following forms are distinguished:

  • Low;
  • Intermediate;
  • high.

The nature of metastasis is distinguished:

  1. localized — when cancer cells affect only the bone and do not go beyond the affected joint
  2. Metastatic — Through lymph flow and blood, metastases spread throughout the body.

By the ratio of tumor growth to the bone itself, such forms of oncological process are distinguished:

  • mixed — tumor growth and bone destruction are of an equivalent nature
  • osteolytic — tumor growth predominates in relation to the affected area
  • osteoplastic — tumor growth provokes an increase in bone tissue

In addition, there are several forms of this ailment that occur extremely rarely, but still take place:

  1. angiectatic osteosarcoma
  2. periosteal;
  3. intra-ossal;
  4. extraskeletal
  5. small cell
  6. radiation-induced.

With regard to the severity of the development of this cancer process, there are four stages. The most positive outlook is present at stages 1-2. At the last stage of the development of this disease, palliative treatment is conducted, which is aimed at removing acute symptoms and improving the quality of life of the patient.

Regardless of which form of the disease is diagnosed, the risk of recurrence is almost always present. Most often, a relapse of bone oncology occurs 2-3 years after an active course of treatment.


The danger of this type of cancer process is that it can be asymptomatic for a long time. Diagnosis in the early stages is extremely rare and in most cases this occurs when conducting a preventive examination or diagnostic measures for another ailment.

The initial clinical picture of this oncological process is represented by the following symptom complex:

  • pain in the area of ​​the affected joint, which character is noisy, of a short duration, but manifests itself regardless of physical activity or motor activity
  • a small swelling in the area of ​​the affected joint
  • There is no effusion (liquid).

As the malignant tumor grows, the clinical picture will be more pronounced, and manifest as follows:

  1. any mobility of the joint, even insignificant, is accompanied by severe pain
  2. Puffiness is clearly visible in the lesion, skin can become red
  3. in some cases there may be a local increase in temperature;
  4. general weakness, almost constant feeling of sluggishness
  5. In a joint that is located next to a malignant formation, a contracture develops;
  6. pains are pronounced at 3-4 stages, they are almost always present, which leads to disturbance of the sleep cycle and general deterioration of well-being.

It should be noted that this form of the disease is characterized by early metastasis. Most often affects the brain and lungs, which leads to extremely negative predictions.


Diagnostics is based on physical examination of the patient, conducting laboratory and instrumental methods of examination.

During the physical examination, the doctor must establish the following:

  • how long the first symptoms began to appear, their nature, degree of severity
  • Whether there were cases of oncological diseases in a personal or family history

It is important — if the patient has taken any medications for acute symptoms, tell the doctor about it before the diagnostic events begin.

Laboratory-instrumental methods of examination, with this cancer process include:

  1. general blood count and biochemical
  2. Oncom Marker Test
  3. tissue biopsy from the affected area
  4. radiography
  5. CT.

Osteosarcoma should be differentiated with such diseases:

  • cartilaginous exostoses
  • chondrosarcoma
  • Eosinophilic granuloma

Taking into account the data that was collected during the physical examination and the results of the diagnosis, the doctor makes the final diagnosis and determines the treatment tactics.


In most cases, surgical removal of the tumor is mandatory. Radiation therapy, as an independent method of therapy, is used only if there are contraindications to the operation.

In general, the treatment of osteosarcoma includes three stages:

  1. A course of chemotherapy before surgery to eliminate small metastases and reduce the tumor itself
  2. surgical part — removal of malignant formation, that is resection of the affected area and replacement by implantation from plastic or metal. Amputation is carried out only in extreme cases;
  3. course of postoperative chemotherapy, for the removal of metastatic cells

To treat such a dangerous disease by means of traditional medicine is impossible — it is not advisable and does not give a positive effect.


The prognosis of this disease depends on such factors as:

  • the oncology stage at which treatment was started;
  • the patient’s age
  • general clinical picture
  • a form of cancer.

With a timely start of therapy, the five-year survival rate is more than 70%. If the malignant formation is sensitive to chemotherapy, then the survival rate is about 90%. However, the risk of recurrence is almost always present.

In view of the fact that there is no exact etiologic picture of this ailment, targeted preventive measures, unfortunately, do not exist.