Dr. Beauchamp describes a chondrosarcoma bone tumor.
A chondrosarcoma is a malignant bone tumor. It’s the second most common bone tumor. It’s typically a tumor that occurs in adulthood. It’s unusual to occur in childhood and it’s a tumor of cartilage. Chondro means cartilage; sarcoma means malignant, and it has a slightly different behavior than other malignant bone tumors in that the most common form of it is a low-grade tumor. Low-grade means not very aggressive.
We grade tumors under the microscope by how aggressive they appear. So a low-grade tumor tends to be a problem where it’s growing. It is not as likely to spread to other parts of the body as other kinds of tumors. Just like everything else though, there’s a whole spectrum of behavior of chondrosarcomas and we do have high-grade chondrosarcomas.
We do have some chondrosarcomas that are very aggressive. They differ from other bone tumors in that there really isn’t any other option for treatment other than surgery. So, whereas with other tumors we use radiation treatment maybe, or chemotherapy, those are ineffective against chondrosarcomas, and that’s because the tissue cartilage is really a very primitive tissue. It’s the most durable tissue against chemotherapy and radiation therapy. So, the treatment for chondrosarcomas is surgery.
About Dr. Beauchamp, M.D.:
Dr. Christopher P. Beauchamp, M.D., is an orthopedic surgery and Associate Professor of Orthopedics at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. He focuses specifically on musculoskeletal oncology, adult reconstructive orthopedics, bone and soft tissue sarcomas, and infected, failed joint arthroplasty.
Visit Dr. Beauchamp at the Mayo Clinic