Musculoskeletal / Bone & Soft Tissue Tumours Cancer Care India

musculoskeletal healoncocare


Bone and soft tissue tumors are a diverse group of tumours that can affect the skeletal system and the soft tissues of the body.

These tumors can vary in their nature, ranging from benign to malignant. Prompt and effective treatment is crucial to achieve the best possible outcomes for patients with these tumors.

Types -

Bone and soft tissue tumors can occur in individuals of all ages, although certain types are more common in specific age groups.

The incidence of these tumors varies depending on the type and location. Some key epidemiological factors include:

  • Osteosarcoma: This is the most common primary malignant bone tumor, often affecting children and young adults in their teenage years. It accounts for a significant proportion of bone tumors, with a higher incidence in males.
  • Chondrosarcoma: Chondrosarcoma is the second most common malignant bone tumor, typically diagnosed in adults aged 40 years or older. It arises from cartilage cells and can occur in various bones, such as the pelvis, ribs, and long bones.
  • Ewing Sarcoma: Ewing sarcoma primarily affects children and young adults, with a peak incidence in the teenage years. It commonly occurs in the long bones of the extremities, pelvis, and chest wall.
  • Soft Tissue Sarcomas: Soft tissue sarcomas are a diverse group of tumors that can arise from various soft tissues, including muscles, fat, nerves, and blood vessels. They can occur at any age but are more prevalent in adults. Certain subtypes, such as liposarcoma and leiomyosarcoma, have distinct age and gender distributions.

The clinical presentation of bone and soft tissue tumors can vary depending on factors such as tumor location, size, and aggressiveness. Some common signs and symptoms include:

  • Pain: Persistent localized pain, especially at rest or during activity, is a common symptom. The pain may worsen over time and may not respond to conventional pain management strategies.
  • Swelling: A palpable lump or swelling may be present at the site of the tumor. It may gradually increase in size and feel firm or hard to the touch.
  • Limited Range of Motion: Tumors in or near joints can cause stiffness and restriction of movement, leading to functional impairment.
  • Fractures: Weakened bone resulting from a tumor may be susceptible to fractures, even with minimal trauma or stress. This can be a significant indication of an underlying bone tumor.
  • Neurological Symptoms: Tumors in or near nerves can cause symptoms such as numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, or loss of function in the affected area.
  • Constitutional Symptoms: In some cases, individuals may experience general symptoms such as fatigue, weight loss, fever, or night sweats, particularly if the tumor has spread to other parts of the body.

It is important to note that these signs and symptoms are not exclusive to bone and soft tissue tumors and can be caused by other conditions as well. Therefore, an accurate diagnosis requires a comprehensive evaluation.


The management of these tumours typically involves a multidisciplinary approach, including inputs from orthopedic onco-surgeon, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, and pathologists to reach a definitive diagnosis.

This comprehensive evaluation includes detailed medical history, physical examination, and appropriate imaging tests (such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans), biopsy, and pathological analysis.

Early detection and timely intervention play a crucial role in improving treatment outcomes for bone and soft tissue tumors.

  • Surgery: Surgery plays a primary role in the treatment of bone and soft tissue tumors. The main goals of surgical intervention are complete tumor removal, preservation of limb function, and reconstruction if necessary. Depending on the location and extent of the tumor, surgical options may include:
    • Wide Excision: This involves removing the tumor along with a margin of surrounding healthy tissue to ensure complete removal. In some cases, this may require amputation of the affected limb.
    • Limb - Sparing Surgery: Whenever possible, surgeons aim to preserve the affected limb while removing the tumor. This approach involves excising the tumor and reconstructing the bone or soft tissue using various techniques, such as bone grafts, prosthetic implants, or tissue flaps.
    • Curettage and Bone Grafting: This procedure involves removing the tumor and filling the resulting cavity with a bone graft or bone cement to promote healing and restore stability. Usually done for benign tumours.
  • Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays or other forms of radiation to destroy cancer cells and shrink tumors. It is often used in conjunction with surgery, either before or after the procedure. Radiation therapy may be employed to:
    • Shrink tumors before surgery to facilitate a limb-sparing procedure.
    • Eliminate residual cancer cells following surgery to reduce the risk of recurrence.
    • Control tumors that cannot be completely removed surgically or in cases where surgery is not feasible.
    • Provide palliative care to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life in advanced-stage tumors.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy involves the use of powerful drugs to kill cancer cells. It is typically administered intravenously or orally and can be used in different settings, including:
    • Neoadjuvant Therapy: Chemotherapy is given before surgery to shrink tumors, making them more amenable to surgical removal.
    • Adjuvant Therapy: Chemotherapy is administered after surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells and reduce the risk of recurrence.
    • Palliative Therapy: In advanced-stage tumors, chemotherapy may be used to control tumor growth, alleviate symptoms, and improve quality of life.
  • Targeted Therapy and Immunotherapy: Targeted therapy and immunotherapy are newer treatment approaches that specifically target cancer cells or enhance the body's immune response against tumors. These therapies are often used when standard treatments are not effective or in cases where specific genetic mutations or biomarkers are present.