Current and future therapeutic approaches for osteosarcoma

Expert Rev Anticancer Ther. 2018 Jan;18(1):39-50. doi: 10.1080/14737140.2018.1413939. Epub 2017 Dec 14.


Current treatment of osteosarcoma includes surgical resection of all gross disease in conjunction with systemic chemotherapy to control micro-metastatic disease. This yields a 5-year event free survival (EFS) of approximately 70% for patients with localized osteosarcoma while patients with metastatic or recurrent disease fare poorly with overall survival rates of less than 20%. Areas covered: This review outlines the current and future approach towards the treatment of osteosarcoma. A literature search was performed utilizing PubMed. Several recent clinical trials are reviewed in detail, as is innovative research evaluating novel agents and surgical techniques which hold promise. Expert commentary: The outcome for patients with osteosarcoma has not changed in several decades. This plateau in survival rates highlights the need for a novel approach towards research. There remains a great deal of interest in utilizing the very high risk population of recurrent osteosarcoma patients to rapidly and sequentially evaluate novel agents to determine if any of these agents hold promise. Several phase II studies are ongoing or in development that offer hope based on intriguing preclinical data. Furthermore, initiatives in obtaining specimens to further explore the genetic and immunological profile behind osteosarcoma will be essential towards identifying novel pathways and targets to exploit.

Keywords: Osteosarcoma; adjuvant chemotherapy; and cisplatin (MAP); doxorubicin; limb-salvage; methotrexate; muramyl tripeptide phosphatidylethanolamine (MTP-PE); neoadjuvant chemotherapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Bone Neoplasms / genetics
  • Bone Neoplasms / pathology
  • Bone Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Drug Design
  • Humans
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Osteosarcoma / genetics
  • Osteosarcoma / pathology
  • Osteosarcoma / therapy*
  • Survival Rate


  • Antineoplastic Agents