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What osteosarcoma is

Osteosarcoma (or bone cancer) is the name given to a tumour disease originating from bone tissue cells. This tissue is derived from the mesoderm, which is the part of the embryo that will transform during its development into certain tissues such as muscles, cartilage, joints, bones, connective tissues (e.g. tendons), blood and lymphatic vessels, and fatty tissues.

Bones are composed of several types of tissue: bone tissue, strictly speaking, along with others such as collagen, fibrous, vascular tissue, etc. Three different types of cells can be identified in bone tissue: osteocytes, osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Each of them has a function that complements the others in a constant balance.

Symptoms and diagnosis of osteosarcoma

A tumour can start in any part of a bone. There is a great variety of benign bone tumours, with the main characteristic being that they do not invade or infiltrate the tissues around the bone. Malignant tumours that have the ability to invade tissues and metastasise to distant sites can also occur in bones.

Osteosarcoma is one of the types of bone tumours that destroys normal bone tissue and weakens it. It originates in the most immature bone cells that generate new bone (osteoblasts). It is the most common type of cancer of the bone itself, and it is completely different from metastases of other cancers that frequently affect the bone, such as prostate, breast or lung cancer.

Osteosarcoma affects mostly people between 10 and 20 years of age, although it can also appear in people over 40 years of age. It forms in the bone tissue itself and its cells grow and invade healthy bone, thereby weakening it. These tumours can develop in any bone of the skeleton and are often able to spread and metastasise to other sites, mainly the lung.

To diagnose it, it is necessary to carry out an analysis of the tumour itself (biopsy) so that the pathologists can analyse the biopsy under a microscope to obtain the necessary information for an exact diagnosis. It is then that the oncologist, in collaboration with radiologists and nuclear medicine specialists, must carry out the necessary tests to determine the extent or stage of the disease and design the best treatment for the patient.


To adequately treat osteosarcoma, the direct collaboration of a group of specialists (orthopaedic surgeons, medical oncologists and radiotherapists) with experience in the treatment of this disease is necessary in order to establish the most appropriate treatment option according to the characteristics of the disease and the patient, and to schedule follow-up or monitoring appointments when treatment is completed.

IVO Sarcoma Tumour Committee

The Sarcoma Tumour Committee is made up of a multidisciplinary team of expert professionals.


The Traumatology unit's role is to care for the IVO patient when required.

Medical Oncology Service

The Service's team of professionals accompanies cancer patients throughout the whole disease process.

Clinical trials

The current way we have of advancing and improving cancer treatment is through what we call "clinical trials".

A clinical trial is a research study carried out on people with the aim of learning more about how the body reacts to certain treatments. These trials generally seek to find drugs that are more effective than the current best therapeutic option for patients, or that have similar efficacy but a better toxicity profile.

Bearing in mind that almost all currently available treatments are the result of clinical research, the importance of clinical trials is obvious.

The IVO has a clinical trials unit for all types of tumours and participates in phase 1-3 studies as well as other types of studies.

Living with osteosarcoma

coping with the diagnosis and receiving treatment and psychological support

Whether you receive the news of an initial diagnosis of cancer or a relapse, coping with cancer can be emotionally overwhelming. Each person has their own way of coping with an osteosarcoma diagnosis, but there are some recommendations that can help you through this process:

  • Maintain communication and the company of family and friends, the people closest to the patient, who can provide a support network throughout the process
  • Talk to other people who have survived cancer or who are in the same situation. There are many local and national associations and support groups. The Spanish Association Against Cancer (Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer) is perhaps the best-known one.
  • Inform yourself in order to make the best decisions about treatment and medical professionals.

Early Diagnosis

Nuclear Medicine


Radiation Therapy