The 4 Most Common Bone Sarcomas

Greater Dallas Orthopaedics has a proven track record as the regional leader in the treatment of sarcomas. Sarcoma is a very rare form of cancer that occurs in the body’s connective tissue, and at the highest level is divided between bone sarcomas and soft tissue sarcomas. In this blog, we’ll be discussing the four types of bone sarcomas that make up nearly 90% of all primary bone cancer in the U.S.

The rankings and statistics are courtesy of, the official website of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, which broke down data produced by the American Cancer Society.

1. Chondrosarcoma

Areas Most Commonly Affected: Pelvis, Hip, & Shoulder
Prevalence: 40% of Bone Sarcomas

Chondrosarcoma most often occurs in bone, but can also occur in soft tissue, and in addition to the the pelvis, hip, and shoulder. In rare cases, chondrosarcoma tumors can develop at the base of the skull, similar to chordoma below.

The characteristic most commonly associated with this type of bone cancer is that the cells produce cartilage. Treatment virtually always consists of the surgical removal of tumors.

2. Osteosarcoma

Areas Most Commonly Affected: Long Bones (Legs & Arms)
Prevalence: 28% of Bone Sarcomas

Osteosarcoma occurs in the cells that actually form bones. As such, it occurs more often in high-growth bones like those found in the arms & legs, and in teenagers whose bones are more actively growing. In fact, osteosarcoma represents 56% of primary bone cancer cases in teenagers and children.

Unlike chondrosarcoma, treatment for osteosarcoma is more varied and can include a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, as well as surgical treatment.

A doctor looking at a patients' knee joint

3. Chordoma

Areas Most Commonly Affected: Spine & Skull Base
Prevalence: 10% of Bone Sarcomas

Chordoma is the single entry on this list not related to long bones or the joints they interact with. It’s also the only primary bone cancer on this list with a gender bias, as it’s found nearly twice as often in men. While osteosarcoma above and Ewing sarcoma below are both more common amongst children, chordoma is found more often in those between 50 & 70 years of age.

Given the location of this sarcoma, the spine & skull base, treatment for chordoma must be extremely cautious. As such, treatment strategies vary based on a multitude of factors and the preference & experience of the medical professionals involved.

4. Ewing Sarcoma

Areas Most Commonly Affected: Pelvis & Long Bones (Legs & Arms)
Prevalence: 8% of Bone Sarcomas

Ewing sarcoma is the entry on the list with the most unknowns. The cause is unknown, no clear risk factors exist, and it cannot be prevented. It’s also not related to lifestyle or environmental factors and does not appear to be inherited.

Like osteosarcoma, it’s much more common among children & teens than adults, making up 34% of primary bone cancer cases within that age group. Despite the unknowns, there have been major advancements in the treatment of Ewing sarcoma, which have dramatically improved outcomes. Following treatment, ongoing monitoring is necessitated.

A common theme throughout all of these forms of bone sarcoma is the need for thoughtful treatment provided by tenured specialists.

Greater Dallas Orthopaedics is the regional leader in the treatment of bone sarcomas, and we pride ourselves of providing care that is both impactful and compassionate. If you or a loved one is suffering from symptoms of any of these ailments, we encourage you to seek treatment immediately and consider Greater Dallas Orthopaedics.