Limb salvage surgery for osteosarcoma: effective low-cost treatment

Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2007 Jun;459:82-91. doi: 10.1097/BLO.0b013e31805d85c4.


Successful management of osteosarcoma with limb salvage surgery is a challenging problem in the developing world. We report our early results with low-cost chemotherapy (without methotrexate) and low-cost limb salvage surgery. We prospectively collected data for 135 patients with histologically proven high-grade osteosarcoma of the extremities given neoadjuvant chemotherapy and treated with limb salvage surgery between January 2000 and February 2004. A locally designed and fabricated stainless steel customized megaprosthesis was used in 78 patients. Disease status and function was evaluated at followup ranging from 24 to 72 months. Followup data were available for 120 of the 135 patients. There were eight infections, four prosthesis breakages and three loosenings. Eighteen patients had local recurrence; 17 of these patients also developed lung metastases. Seventy-three patients (61%) were disease-free at followup. The group of 34 patients with 100% necrosis had better disease-free survival (79%). According to a modified Enneking system, the average functional score was 25.5 of 30 (85%) for the lower extremity and 20 of 30 (66%) for the shoulder. Our preliminary results suggest osteosarcoma can be managed well in a developing country in a cost-effective way. Limb salvage surgery has now become the standard of care.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Arm Bones
  • Bone Neoplasms / pathology
  • Bone Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India
  • Internal Fixators
  • Leg Bones
  • Limb Salvage / economics
  • Limb Salvage / methods*
  • Male
  • Methotrexate / administration & dosage
  • Osteosarcoma / pathology
  • Osteosarcoma / therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Methotrexate