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Chondrosarcoma Treatment

Chondrosarcoma is a rare type of cancer that begins in cartilage cells and spreads to the surrounding bone tissue. It is different from other bone cancers like osteosarcoma, which begin in bone cells.

Chondrosarcoma can grow in any part of the body where cartilage is. It begins most often in the limbs and pelvis, mainly the hipbone and thighbone.

Chondrosarcoma has 4 grades. The higher the grade, the more severe the tumor:

  • Grade 1 (low grade) tumors are less likely to grow and spread than Grade 2 (intermediate grade) or Grade 3 (high grade) tumors.
  • The 4th and most serious grade is called dedifferentiated chondrosarcoma.

Chondrosarcoma symptoms

Symptoms of chondrosarcoma are generally limited to the area of the tumor and may include:

  • A bony lump or mass
  • Tenderness or stiffness in the affected area
  • Pain or swelling, especially at night or at rest
  • Problems with movement or range of motion

Unlike other cancers, chondrosarcoma does not usually cause your child to feel sick or weak.

Chondrosarcoma treatment

Surgery is the main treatment for chondrosarcoma. It does not respond well to other cancer treatments like chemotherapy or radiation. Even so, radiation may be used to treat tumors in areas that cannot be reached by surgery, such as the skull.

The goal of surgery is to completely remove tumors and maintain limb function.  The surgeon removes a small amount of tissue around the tumor tissue along with the tumor. This is called a margin. When a margin of tissue is removed around the tumor, the care team can be sure they have removed the whole tumor. The surgeon removes this tissue while doing their best to keep the limb and avoid loss of function.

Chondrosarcoma prognosis

Survival rates are higher when the tumor is found at a lower grade. Low-grade tumors have a better chance for treatment and come back less often than higher-grade tumors. Other treatment factors include age, overall health, and tumor location.

Every cancer is unique. Each patient’s prognosis depends on factors including tumor size and location. Your child’s care team can help you understand their prognosis in more detail. 

Chondrosarcoma care at St. Jude

St. Jude provides the highest quality of care for patients with chondrosarcoma:

  • St. Jude is the only National Cancer Institute–designated Comprehensive Cancer Center just for children. A Comprehensive Cancer Center meets rigorous standards for research that develops new and better approaches to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer. 
  • St. Jude has been a pioneer in limb-sparing surgical techniques. Our surgeons continue to explore new limb-sparing techniques to improve survival and help children live normal lives after treatment.
  • At St. Jude, your child’s care team includes doctors working to cure the disease and services in nutrition, rehabilitation, neurology, surgery, nursing, education, endocrinology, and psychology. This expert team supports each child through diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.
  • Your child’s care team works closely with researchers to bring new treatments from the lab to the clinic.

Chondrosarcoma clinical trials

There are no open clinical trials at this time.

Browse open clinical trials

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Seeking treatment at St. Jude

Patients accepted to St. Jude must have a disease we treat and must be referred by a physician or other qualified medical professional. We accept most patients based on their ability to enroll in an open clinical trial.

How to seek treatment

Contact the Physician / Patient Referral Office

Call: 1-888-226-4343 (toll-free) or 901-595-4055 (local)  | Fax: 901-595-4011 | Email: | 24-hour pager: 1-800-349-4334

The solid tumor coordinator is dedicated to helping you seek treatment or refer a patient.

Solid Tumor Coordinator


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