Osteosarcoma & Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma

At a Glance

  • Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer.
  • Malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH) of bone is a rare tumor of the bone.
  • Osteosarcoma occurs predominantly in adolescents and young adults. Mostly in males.
  • Symptoms of osteosarcoma and MFH include swelling over a bone or bony part of the body, pain in a bone or joint, a bone that breaks for no known reason.
  What is Osteosarcoma and Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma? Osteosarcoma and malignant fibrous histiocytoma of the bone are diseases in which cancer cells form in bone. Osteosarcoma usually starts in osteoblasts, which are a type of bone cell that grows into new bone tissue. Osteosarcoma is most common in teenagers and young adults. It commonly forms in the ends of the long bones of the body, which include bones of the arms and legs. In children and teenagers, it often develops around the knee. Rarely, osteosarcoma may be found in soft tissue or organs in the chest or abdomen. Osteosarcoma occurs predominantly in adolescents and young adults. Review of data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results program of the NCI resulted in an estimate of 4.4 per million new cases of osteosarcoma each year in people aged 0 to 24 years. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that there will be 110 million people in this age range in 2010, resulting in an incidence of roughly 450 cases per year in children and young adults less than 25 years old. Osteosarcoma accounts for approximately 5% of childhood tumors. In children and adolescents, more than 50% of these tumors arise from the bones around the knee. Osteosarcoma can rarely be observed in soft tissue or visceral organs. There appears to be no difference in presenting symptoms, tumor location, and outcome for younger patients (<10 years) compared with adolescents.

Risk Factors

Anything that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Risk factors for osteosarcoma include the following:
  • Being a teen or young adult. Osteosarcoma and MFH often form during a growth spurt.
  • Being male.
  • Past treatment with radiation therapy.
  • Past treatment with anticancer drugs called alkylating agents.
  • Having a certain change in the retinoblastoma gene.
  • Having certain conditions such as
    • Hereditary retinoblastoma.
    • Paget disease.
    • Diamond-Blackfan anemia.
    • Li-Fraumeni syndrome.
    • Rothmund-Thomson syndrome.
    • Bloom syndrome.
    • Werner syndrome.

Signs and Symptoms

Possible signs of osteosarcoma and MFH include:
  • Swelling over a bone or bony part of the body.
  • Pain in a bone or joint.
  • A bone that breaks for no known reason