Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2022 Dec 8;8(1):77. doi: 10.1038/s41572-022-00409-y.


Osteosarcoma is the most common primary malignant tumour of the bone. Osteosarcoma incidence is bimodal, peaking at 18 and 60 years of age, and is slightly more common in males. The key pathophysiological mechanism involves several possible genetic drivers of disease linked to bone formation, causing malignant progression and metastasis. While there have been significant improvements in the outcome of patients with localized disease, with event-free survival outcomes exceeding 60%, in patients with metastatic disease, event-free survival outcomes remain poor at less than 30%. The suspicion of osteosarcoma based on radiographs still requires pathological evaluation of a bone biopsy specimen for definitive diagnosis and CT imaging of the chest should be performed to identify lung nodules. So far, population-based screening and surveillance strategies have not been implemented due to the rarity of osteosarcoma and the lack of reliable markers. Current screening focuses only on groups at high risk such as patients with genetic cancer predisposition syndromes. Management of osteosarcoma requires a multidisciplinary team of paediatric and medical oncologists, orthopaedic and general surgeons, pathologists, radiologists and specialist nurses. Survivors of osteosarcoma require specialized medical follow-up, as curative treatment consisting of chemotherapy and surgery has long-term adverse effects, which also affect the quality of life of patients. The development of osteosarcoma model systems and related research as well as the evaluation of new treatment approaches are ongoing to improve disease outcomes, especially for patients with metastases.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bone Neoplasms*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Osteosarcoma*
  • Quality of Life