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Primary Malignant Bone Tumors

What is Primary Malignant Bone Tumors ?

Primary malignant bone tumors (sarcomas of the bone) are rare, constituting less than 1% of all malignant tumors. Most bone tumors result from metastasis from another malignant tumor.

Primary bone tumors occur less in women as compare to males. Although some types occur in people between ages 35 and 60.

Causes of Primary Malignant Bone Tumors

The cause of bone tumors is unknown. They often arise in areas of rapid growth. Possible causes include inherited mutations, trauma and radiation, but in most cases no specific cause is found.

Signs & Symptoms of Primary Malignant Bone Tumors

  • Bone pain, may be worse at night
  • Occasionally a mass and swelling can be felt at the tumor site
  • Bone fracture, especially fracture from slight trauma (injury)
Note: Some benign tumors have no symptoms.

Diagnostic Tests

  • X-ray of bone
  • Bone biopsy
  • Bone scan showing size and location of tumor
  • Alkaline phosphatase may be elevated


Treatment focuses on preserving the limb as well as controlling the cancer. Surgical resection of the tumor (often with preoperative radiation and postoperative chemotherapy) saves many limbs from amputation. Some facilities may perform both preoperative and postoperative radiation therapy and chemotherapy, or various other combinations.

Sometimes treatment calls for radical surgery.

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