Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center - Health Library

Chondrosarcoma

(Cartilage Cancer; Cancer of the Cartilage)

Definition

Chondrosarcoma is a type of cancer. It grows in cartilage cells in the body. Cartilage is connective tissue.

This cancer is most common in the thigh, arm, ribs, or pelvis.

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Causes ^

Cancer is when cells in the body split without control or order. These cells go on to form a growth or tumor. The term cancer refers to harmful growths. These growths attack nearby tissues. They also spread to other parts of the body. It’s not clear exactly what causes these problems. It’s likely a mix of genes and the environment.

Risk Factors ^

Chondrosarcoma is more common in adults after aged 20-60 years old. Your chances are also higher for:

  • Enchondroma—harmless bone tumors mainly found in the hands
  • Osteochondroma—too much cartilage or bone is found at the end of a growth plate
  • Ollier disease—causes a group of enchondromas
  • Maffucci syndrome—many endochondromas and other types of tumors

Symptoms ^

Chondrosarcoma may cause:

  • Large mass on a bone
  • Pressure around the mass
  • Pain that:
    • Worsens at night
    • Doesn’t get better with rest
    • Slowly worsens over time and may last for years

Diagnosis ^

You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. You may also need:

The tests will find the grade of the cancer. Chondrosarcoma is graded from 1-4. Grade 1 is a local cancer. Grade 4 shows it has spread to other sites in the body.

Treatment ^

Chondrosarcoma is treated with surgery. The tumor is removed with a border of healthy tissue around it. In some cases, amputation may be needed.

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be used if cancer has come back or spread to other sites.

Prevention ^

There is no way to prevent chondrosarcoma since the cause is unknown.

RESOURCES:

American Cancer Society
https://www.cancer.org

National Cancer Institute
https://www.cancer.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

BC Cancer—Provincial Health Services Authority
http://www.bccancer.bc.ca

Canadian Cancer Society
https://www.cancer.ca

REFERENCES:

Chondrosarcoma. Bone Tumor website. Available at: http://bonetumor.org/tumors-cartilage/chondrosarcoma. Accessed July 31, 2018.

Chow WA. Update on chondrosarcomas. Curr. Opin. Oncol. 2007;19(4):371-376.

Lewis VO. What’s new in musculoskeletal oncology. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2007;89(6):1399-1407.

What is chondrosarcoma? The Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative website. Available at: http://sarcomahelp.org/chondrosarcoma.html. Updated October 2012. Accessed July 31, 2018.

Last reviewed June 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP  Last Updated: 7/31/2018