Osteosarcoma (Osteogenic sarcoma)

Piero Picci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Osteosarcoma is a primary malignant tumour of the skeleton characterised by the direct formation of immature bone or osteoid tissue by the tumour cells. The classic osteosarcoma is a rare (0.2% of all malignant tumours) highly malignant tumour, with an estimated incidence of 3 cases/million population/year. Osteosarcoma arises predominantly in the long bones and rarely in the soft tissues. The age at presentation ranges from 10 to 25 years of age. Plain radiographs, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, angiography and dynamic bone scintigraphy are used for diagnosis, evaluation the extent of tumour involvement and decision of the type of operation and, if necessary, the type of reconstruction. Years ago, all patients with osteosarcoma were treated by amputation but the cure rate was under 10% and almost all patients died within a year from diagnosis. Today, for localised osteosarcoma at onset (80% of cases) treated in specialized bone tumour centres with pre- and postoperative chemotherapy associated with surgery, the percentage of patients cured varies between 60% and 70%. Surgery is conservative (limb salvage) in more than 90% of patients. Prognosis is more severe (cure rate about 30%) for tumours located in the axial skeleton and in patients with metastasis at onset.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
JournalOrphanet Journal of Rare Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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