227283 Health Library | Health and Wellness | Wellmont Health System
  • Chondrosarcoma

    (Cartilage Cancer; Cancer of the Cartilage)


    Chondrosarcoma is a type of cancer. It grows in cartilage cells in the body. Cartilage is the connective tissue. Most bones are created from cartilage.
    This cancer is typically found in the cartilage cells of the femur, arm, pelvis, knee, and spine. Rarely, the ribs and other areas may also be affected.
    Cancer occurs when cells in the body divide without control or order. If cells keep dividing uncontrollably, a mass of tissue forms. This is called a growth or tumor. The term cancer refers to malignant tumors. They can invade nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body.
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    The cause of this cancer is not fully known. Some cases may be due to genetics.

    Risk Factors

    Certain factors seem to be common among individuals who develop chondrosarcoma, these include:
    • Enchondroma—a non-cancerous bone tumor often found in the hands
    • Osteochondroma —excess cartilage or bone found at the end of a growth plate
    • Multiple osteochondromas—bone tumors
    • Ollier's disease, which causes a group of enchondromas
    • Maffucci's syndrome, which causes a combination of multiple endochondromas and various tumors


    Symptoms will vary from person to person. The location and severity of the tumor will affect them. The most common symptoms of chondrosarcoma include:
    • Large lump or mass on a bone
    • Pressure surrounding the mass
    • Pain that worsens at night
    • Pain that responds to anti-inflammatory pain relievers
    • Pain that does not improve with rest
    • Pain that gradually worsens over time and may last for years


    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
    Tests may include the following:
      You may need tests of your bodily fluids and tissue. This can be done with: You may need to have pictures taken of your bodily structures. This can be done with:
    • You may need to have your tissue function tested. This can be done with a PET/CT scan .


    Treatment can vary based on your age, overall health, and stage of the disease. Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Treatment options include:


    Surgery may be used to remove the tumor. Physical therapy may be used to help the area heal after surgery.
    Surgery may be used to remove the tumor. Physical therapy may be used to help the area heal after surgery.

    Radiation Therapy

    High energy x-rays may be used to target and kill cancer cells.

    Other Therapies

    Drugs that kill tumor cells may be used. The use of chemotherapy may depend on the type of chondrosarcoma that you have.


    The cause of chondrosarcoma is not fully understood. There are no known preventive steps for this condition.


    Children's Hospital Boston http://www.childrenshospital.org

    National Cancer Institute http://www.cancer.gov


    BC Cancer Agency http://www.bccancer.bc.ca

    HealthLink BC http://bchealthguide.org


    Chondrosarcoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed . Updated November 28, 2012. Accessed January 31, 2013.

    Chow WA. Update on chondrosarcomas. Curr. Opin. Oncol . 2007;19:371-376.

    DeGroot H. Chondrosarcoma. Bonetumor.org website. Available at: http://www.bonetumor.org/tumors/pages/page39.html . Accessed January 31, 2013.

    What is chondrosarcoma? The Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative website. Available at: http://sarcomahelp.org/chondrosarcoma.html . Updated October 2012. Accessed January 31, 2013.

    Lewis VO. What’s new in musculoskeletal oncology. J Bone Joint Surg Am . 2007;89:1399-1407.

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