Background: Chondrosarcomas are common solid malignant tumors of bone, second in incidence only to osteosarcomas. The biologic evolution of chondrosarcomas is slow, requiring long follow-up intervals for meaningful survival analysis.
Methods: This study describes the clinicopathologic profiles of 344 patients, 194 male and 150 female (M:F, 1.3:1.0), with primary chondrosarcoma of long bones and limb girdles seen at 1 institution over a period of 80 years.
Results: The average age at presentation was 46 years (range, 5-82 years). The pelvis was the most common location (1.7% of all patients). Local pain was the most frequently reported initial symptom (81.4%). Survival analysis was limited to 233 patients whose primary treatment was given at the Mayo Clinic. All 233 patients had potential follow-up of at least 5 years. The overall 5-year survival rate was 77% (the expected rate was 96%). Local recurrence developed in 19.7% of patients and metastatic lesions in 13.7%. The recurrence rate was higher for tumors of the shoulder and pelvis than for tumors of long bones. Radiographically, chondrosarcomas had a characteristic appearance, including a combination of bone expansion and cortical thickening. Entering the tumor at surgery increased the risk of local recurrence. Histologic tumor grade was an important predictor of local recurrence and metastasis.
Conclusions: With adequate initial surgical intervention, chondrosarcoma is primarily a local disease with a low metastatic rate.