Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Adolescent survival rates for osteosarcoma have not improved for 20 years

01.03.2004


More research is urgently needed says cancer surgeon



New treatments and more research are urgently needed in order to increase the numbers of adolescents who survive bone cancer, according to a leading cancer surgeon.

Osteosarcoma is the third most common cancer in young people*, yet during the past 20 years little research has been carried out into developing improved therapies, and survival rates have remained unchanged with only 54 per cent of patients alive after five years, says Robert Grimer, a consultant orthopaedic oncologist at The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust in Birmingham.


He will tell the Teenage Cancer Trust’s Third International Conference on Cancer and the Adolescent today (Monday 1 March): "Osteosarcoma arises most often in teenagers, yet treatments have not improved during the past 20 years. Chemotherapy and removing part or all of the affected limb are still the standard therapies available. There is an urgent need for new treatments to be developed that are more effective, but kinder to the patients themselves.

"It is a sad fact that, while survival rates in many other cancers have been improving, they have remained static for so long for osteosarcoma."

Fifty per cent of osteosarcomas in adolescents and young adults occur in the bones around the knee, but they can occur in any bone. "The symptoms are very non-specific and delays in diagnosis are common," said Mr Grimer. "This is a problem because if the tumour has had time to spread to other parts of the body, it is very difficult to treat successfully. GPs need to be aware of this, and to refer patients immediately for further investigation if they have symptoms such as pain and swelling of a bone or in the area of a bone.

He said that more research needed to be done not only on improving and evaluating treatments, but also on the best ways to explain risks adequately to adolescents so that they could make properly informed decisions.

"In adolescents there are a number of dilemmas that need to be explored and which may affect decision-making for the individual. Firstly, can the tumour be safely resected (cut out) with a low risk of the cancer recurring? In many, this will be the case, but in some there will be a true dilemma between resection and limb salvage versus amputation. In this situation the risks and benefits need to be clarified.

"If there has been a poor response by the tumour to chemotherapy and it is not possible to leave a clear margin of unaffected bone around the diseased area, then the risk of local recurrence of the tumour may be as high as 30 per cent. Tumour recurrence is dangerous, with a high risk of amputation and also of metastatic disease developing. The alternative procedure is an amputation – something that is not attractive to the vast majority of patients. Thus there is a conflict between a ‘safe’ amputation and a ‘risky’ limb salvage operation. Adolescents take risks and many will accept this risk of local recurrence to keep their limb. Limb salvage surgery is not without problems, however, including poor function, infection, breakages and the almost certain need for further surgery in the future.

"Exploring how these risks and benefits can be conveyed to adolescents to help them make sensible choices is part of the art and challenge of dealing with adolescents."

Dr Jeremy Whelan, a consultant medical oncologist at The Meyerstein Institute of Oncology, Middlesex Hospital in London, will tell the conference that it is vital that osteosarcoma in adolescents should be treated by specialists who not only understand the disease but also their patients. He agreed with Mr Grimer that more research was urgently needed, especially as there was evidence from clinical trials to suggest that osteosarcoma was not treated so well in the UK as in other European countries and the USA. But he highlighted the problems that researchers encountered in setting up clinical trials.

"I am involved in setting up a new trial for osteosarcoma with groups in Europe and the US as we all recognise that we need better results from treatment and that solutions will come quicker by working together. However, such trials are very difficult to establish, fund and run, mostly because of the tightening of regulations; we have spent two and a half years so far trying to set up this trial, and it is still not opened," he said.


Notes
* New figures for the year 2000 show that between 1979 and 2000 in England there were 1,057 cases of osteosarcoma in young people between the ages of 13 and 24. This represents a rate of 0.59 cases per 100,000 of the population in this age group.

Margaret Willson | alfa

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Unique brain 'fingerprint' can predict drug effectiveness
11.07.2018 | McGill University

nachricht Direct conversion of non-neuronal cells into nerve cells
03.07.2018 | Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Subaru Telescope helps pinpoint origin of ultra-high energy neutrino

16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Barium ruthenate: A high-yield, easy-to-handle perovskite catalyst for the oxidation of sulfides

16.07.2018 | Life Sciences

New research calculates capacity of North American forests to sequester carbon

16.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>