Between two and three percent of all childhood cancers are osteosarcoma. Because osteosarcoma usually develops from osteoblasts, it most commonly affects children and young adults experiencing their adolescent growth spurt. Boys and girls have a similar incidence rate until later in their adolescence, when boys are more commonly affected. While most tumors occur in larger bones, such as the femur, tibia, and humerus, and in the area of the bone that has the fastest growth rate, they can occur in any bone. The most common symptom is pain, but swelling and limited movement can occur as the tumor grows.
Osteosarcoma is an orphan disease with approximately 1,200 new cases diagnosed in the United States each year. A similar incidence of the disease exists in Europe. According to the Children's Oncology Group (COG), the survival of children with osteosarcoma has remained at 60-65 percent since the mid-1980s. The standard treatment for osteosarcoma is tumor resection with combination chemotherapy before and after surgery.
Research teams have revealed how the motor protein, called myosin, which is responsible for causing the contraction of skeletal muscles, also functions in non-muscle cells.
Because cancers in children are rare, many details about their biology remain unknown. In the field of cancer genetics, there's a limited understanding of how inherited genetic changes may contribute to the formation and growth of tumors.