Knowing Bone Cancer

Bone cancer most serious among young adults

(RxWiki News) Bone cancer is a relatively rare type of malignancy, with just under 3,000 Americans expected to be diagnosed with it in 2012. Osteosarcoma is the technical name for the most common form of the disease.

A recent study examined if and how age impacts prognosis (outlook).

After analyzing patient data, the Children's Oncology Group has found that young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 with osteosarcoma have a poorer outcome than other age groups.

"Experiencing bone pain, have it checked out."

A team of investigators, led by Katherine A. Janeway MD, of the Department of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at the Dana-Farber/Children's Hospital Cancer Center in Boston, conducted the study involving 1,054 patients with osteosarcoma.

Researchers evaluated the impact of a number of factors on overall survival (OS) and event-free (no medical events such as bone fractures) survival (EFS).  

The study looked at the location of the primary tumor, age, sex, ethnicity, histologic response (how the tumor responded to any therapy), and evidence of metastatic disease at the time of diagnosis.

The scientists grouped 10-year event-free and overall survival by age group:

  • Younger than 10 years old - EFS: 55 percent, OS: 68 percent
  • Youngsters 10-17 - EFS: 55 percent; OS: 60 percent
  • Young adults 18 and older - EFS: 37 percent; OS: 41 percent

Individuals whose cancer had already spread at the time of diagnosis had poorer outcomes, as did those who had poor histologic response and tumor(s) located in the pelvis.  

The authors conclude, "In osteosarcoma, age 18 to 30 years is associated with a statistically significant poorer outcome because of an increased rate of relapse."

This research was published online in Cancer, the journal of the American Cancer Society, in January, 2012.

The Children’s Oncology Group (COG) is the world’s largest organization devoted exclusively to childhood and adolescent cancer research, uniting more than 7,500 experts around the world. 

COG clinical trials research is supported by the National Cancer Institute.

Review Date: 
May 1, 2012