Overview

Chondrosarcoma is a rare type of cancer that usually begins in the bones, but can sometimes occur in the soft tissue near bones. The most common locations for chondrosarcoma tumors are in the pelvis, hip and shoulder. More rarely, the base of the skull is affected.

The defining characteristic of a chondrosarcoma is that its cells produce cartilage. Some types of chondrosarcomas grow slowly and, provided they are removed completely, have a low risk of spreading to other organs and bones. Others grow rapidly and have a high risk of metastasis.

Surgical removal of the tumor is the mainstay of chondrosarcoma treatment. Radiation and chemotherapy are rarely helpful in the treatment of chondrosarcoma

Chondrosarcoma care at Mayo Clinic

Symptoms

Chondrosarcoma signs and symptoms may include:

  • Increasing pain
  • A swelling or palpable mass
  • Fracture due to weakened bone

If the tumor is pressing on the spinal cord, you might experience weakness, numbness or incontinence.

Causes

Chondrosarcoma is associated with certain genetic mutations. Some varieties of chondrosarcoma arise from the transformation of benign cartilage lesions into cancers.

Risk factors

While chondrosarcoma can occur at any age, the most prevalent variety typically affects middle-aged to older adults.

Ollier disease and Mafucci syndrome are conditions marked by an increased number of benign cartilage lesions (enchondromas) in the body. These lesions sometimes transform into chondrosarcoma.

Chondrosarcoma care at Mayo Clinic

Dec. 05, 2017
References
  1. Azar FM, et al. Malignant tumors of bone. In: Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 13th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2017. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 30, 2017.
  2. Winn HR. Chordomas and chondrosarcomas. In: Youmans & Winn Neurological Surgery. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2017. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 30, 2017.
  3. Gelderblom AJ, et al. Chondrosarcoma. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Aug. 30, 2017.
  4. Rose PS (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 10, 2017.
  5. Bone cancer. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp. Accessed Sept. 2, 2017.
  6. Hornicek FJ, et al. Bone tumors: Diagnosis and biopsy techniques. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Sept. 2, 2017.
  7. Unni KK, et al. Chondrosarcoma (primary, secondary, dedifferentiated and clear cell). In: Dahlin's Bone Tumors. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2010.