Chondrosarcoma is a malignant tumor of connective tissue and is made of cartilage. The tumor cells multiply rapidly and uncontrollably resulting in fast growth of the tumor. Primary chondrosarcoma may vary in size and location and it most commonly develops centrally in a previously normal bone while secondary chondrosarcoma develops from begins precursors such as enchondromas or osteochondromas.
This is the second most common primary bone cancer and can be classified into several types. Classification of chondrosarcoma is based on the pathohistological type of cells which form the tumor. This tumor should never be confused with osteosarcoma. Osteosarcoma originates from bone tissue and is more malignant comparing to chondrosarcoma.
This tumor typically leads to pain. The pain may last for months and is basically dull. The pain caused by chondrosarcoma may aggravate at night. The growth of the tumor causes local swelling and in case chondrosarcoma develops close to a joint there is a chance of effusion. The mobility of the joint can be significantly reduced. In some cases the tumor can be identified once it has caused pathological fracture of the affected bone.
The previously mentioned symptoms are what drive patients to see their doctors. The doctor performs physical examination and several imaging techniques including X-ray of the affected area, CT scan and MRI. These imaging methods give insight in the presence of the tumor. Still, definitive diagnosis can be set only after the tumor is biopted or resected and sent for pathohistological examination. Additional tests and examinations include chest X ray to determine whether the tumor has metastized to the lungs.
Treatment for Chondrosarcoma
The goal of treatment for chondrosarcoma is to eliminate the tumor and preserve as mush function as possible. It is also important to prevent spread of the tumor and growth of possible metastatic cells.
The tumor is initially treated with surgery since it does not respond well to other treatment modalities such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Chemotherapy is basically given in case of spread of chondrosarcoma while radiation therapy may be applied postoperatively in order to sterilize the operated area.
Prognosis of Chondrosarcoma
Prognosis of chondrosarcoma basically depends on how early the tumor is detected and treated. In case of the least aggressive grade 90% of patents may survive more than 5 years after the diagnosis has been set and if treated properly. The survival rate for low grade volume of tumor is good and for the most aggressive grade five-year survival rate accounts for more than a quarter of patients.