HomeHealth articleschondrosarcomaChondrosarcoma | Types | Causes | Symptoms | Diagnosis | Treatment

Chondrosarcoma - Types, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Verified dataVerified data
Chondrosarcoma - Types, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

4 min read


Chondrosarcoma is a rarely occurring tumor, but it can be life-threatening. Read this article to learn more about it.

Written by

Dr. Lochana .k

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Ranvir Sachin Tukaram

Published At March 9, 2022
Reviewed AtFebruary 20, 2023

What Is Sarcoma?

Sarcoma is tumors that can occur on the cartilage, muscles, blood vessels, and nerves. They are classified into different types depending on the site of occurrence. Many types of sarcoma are identified and studied. They are named according to the site of occurrence because it makes it easy for medical professionals to communicate and discuss it.

What Is Chondrosarcoma?

Chondrosarcoma is a type of cancer that affects the hard and soft tissues. The hard tissues involve the bone, and the soft tissue comprises cartilage. The cancer is known to occur on pelvic bones, shoulder, and hip commonly. Skull bones are also involved. But it has only a rare occurrence. It is known to affect males more than females. It affects people belonging to the age of 10 to 80 years. Diagnosis requires precise tools, and the treatment is usually a long-term process.

What Are the Types of Chondrosarcoma?

There are two types of Chondrosarcoma. They are:

  • Primary Chondrosarcoma: Primary chondrosarcoma occurs anywhere outside the bone. It is generally referred to as extraskeletal chondrosarcoma.

  • Secondary Chondrosarcoma: Secondary chondrosarcoma occurs primarily in the bone and cartilage. The age of occurrence is relatively earlier than primary chondrosarcoma.

Other Variants:

  • Mesenchymal Chondrosarcoma: Mesenchymal chondrosarcoma most commonly occurs in the jaws and ribs. It is known to affect people who belong to the age of 10 to 30 years. In this type, both men and women are equally affected.

  • Clear Cell Chondrosarcoma: Clear cell chondrosarcoma can be identified using clinical signs. The growth of the tumor is very slow. With proper treatment, the prognosis is good. The surgical option is helpful.

  • Dedifferentiated Chondrosarcoma: Dedifferentiated chondrosarcoma is the most severe type. Histological examination is beneficial for the diagnosis of this type of chondrosarcoma. A lifespan of only five years is expected from patients with differentiated chondrosarcoma.

What Are the Causes of Chondrosarcoma?

Chondrosarcoma is caused due to genetic mutations. The important function of genes is deciding the appearance and functions of an individual. It is made up of DNA, which is a deciding factor in heredity. All the information required for growth and development is happening in an organized way, and if there is any alteration in this, it will result in genetic mutations. Most of the genetic mutations are permanent, and they might cause severe complications. Patients who had a previous history of treatment with radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Chondrosarcoma is known to occur due to the occurrence of a few other health disorders. They could result in severe high-grade chondrosarcoma. They are:

Based on the severity of the condition, chondrosarcoma is classified into three categories. They are:

  • Grade I: Low grade.

  • Grade II: Intermediate grade.

  • Grade III: High grade.

What Are the Symptoms of Chondrosarcoma?

There are no exact signs or symptoms to identify chondrosarcoma. Only some of the patients experience pain. Pain might be severe or mild, depending on the intensity of the tumor. People who are between the age of 30 to 39 years are more likely to get chondrosarcoma. Generally, chondrosarcoma is known to progress very slowly. The common symptoms:

  • Frequent fractures of the bone due to weakness.

  • Pain in the affected area.

  • Swelling.

  • Loss of functioning of the nerves.

How Is Chondrosarcoma Diagnosed?

The doctor will test the patient in a clinical setup. The health condition and medical history of the patient will be noted. In addition to this, the following tests would be required to support the clinical examination.

  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET): Positron emission tomography uses high radioactive substances for imaging. All the metabolic processes could be identified in this procedure. It is known to be helpful for identifying the condition of chondrosarcoma.

  • X-rays: An x-ray is a reliable tool when it comes to bone-related disorders. It is necessary for you to check your medical conditions because the x-rays can be harmful to some patients. Otherwise, it is the best diagnostic tool and it is used by the doctors to explain the condition to the patients.

  • MRI Scan (Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scan): It helps in the identification of the involvement of the tumor. After getting the MRI reports, the surgery is planned.

  • Biopsy: Biopsy can be obtained by either an open technique or a closed technique. The closed technique uses the needle aspiration method for diagnosis. The specimen is collected from the patient, and the laboratory will produce the diagnosis results.

  • Bone Scan: The structures of the bone can be visualized well with bone scans.

What Are the Treatment Options for Chondrosarcoma?

The treatment protocol for chondrosarcoma involves the following.

  • Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy is usually planned along with chemotherapy or surgical options. There are many side effects of radiation therapy, and it is necessary to communicate well with your doctor before going for it.

  • Surgery: Limb salvage surgery is recommended for chondrosarcoma patients. Amputation is also one of the treatment methods.

  • Curettage: An intralesional curettage surgery is recommended for low-grade chondrosarcoma. A bony window is made, and thermal curettes are used to remove the lesion. It requires highly skilled professionals for successful curettage.

  • Chemotherapy: It is the least preferred treatment method. But, it is beneficial for chondrosarcoma of the initial stages. The dosage and drug regimen are planned by the doctor. There are some complications associated with chemotherapy treatment. You have to be clear on your treatment plan before going for it.

What Are the Risk Factors of Chondrosarcoma?

The condition of chondrosarcoma can occur at any age. There is no age-related risk. If the patient has a poor immune system, it would be difficult for the patient to handle the condition. The patient should also have the strength to bear the radiation therapy procedures in treatment.

How Is Prognosis?

The prognosis helps to predict the rate of recovery after the treatment. For chondrosarcoma, it is difficult to predict the outcome because it depends on the health and healing capacity of the individual. In low-grade cases of chondrosarcoma, the prognosis is good. Only in complicated cases, the life expectancy is reduced.

For more help, contact icliniq.com.

Frequently Asked Questions


Is Chondrosarcoma a Serious Condition?

Chondrosarcoma is a tumor that affects the hard and soft tissues of the body. It is a serious condition. But it can be treated. The prognosis will depend on the immunity and healing capacity of the individual.


How Long Can One Survive With Chondrosarcoma?

The survival rates of a person suffering from chondrosarcoma are as given below;
- If the condition is localized - 95 %.
- If the condition is regional - 75 %.
- If there is a distant spread - 23 %.


Is There Treatment Available for Chondrosarcoma?

Yes, chondrosarcoma can be treated. The treatment can involve surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.


What Are the Signs and Symptoms Indicative of Chondrosarcoma?

The signs and symptoms of chondrosarcoma include;
- Swelling in the affected bone.
- Pain that worsens gradually over time.
- Frequent fractures due to bone weakness.


Is Chemotherapy Effective in Treating Chondrosarcoma?

In general, chemotherapy is not effective in treating chondrosarcoma. But it can be used as a treatment option in the case of dedifferentiated chondrosarcoma and mesenchymal chondrosarcoma.


Does Chondrosarcoma Spread Rapidly?

Chondrosarcoma spreads slowly. So initially, it may not show any symptoms. But as it grows, it can show various signs and symptoms.


Is X-Ray Effective in the Diagnosis of Chondrosarcoma?

Yes, the X-ray is a reliable tool for the diagnosis of chondrosarcoma. In X-rays, the chondrosarcoma appears as a mixed lytic and sclerotic appearance.


How Is the Diagnosis of Chondrosarcoma Made?

The diagnosis of chondrosarcoma can be achieved by,
- Physical examination by the doctor.
- Imaging tests like MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), X-rays, CT (computed tomography), and bone scan.
- Biopsy.


Where Is Chondrosarcoma Usually Found?

Chondrosarcoma primarily affects bone tissues. It mainly affects the cartilage of thigh bones, arms, pelvis, or knees. In rare cases, it can affect skull bones.


Is Radiation Therapy Effective in Treating Chondrosarcoma?

Yes, radiation therapy is quite effective in treating chondrosarcoma. It is opted as a treatment modality in case of tumors that cannot be removed completely by surgery. It can also prevent the spread of cancer to other parts of the body.


How Is Chondrosarcoma Staged?

Chondrosarcoma is classified into three stages;
Grade 1 - Cells look similar to normal cells and tend to progress slowly (low grade).
Grade 2 - It falls between grade 1 and grade 3 (intermediate grade).
Grade 3 - The cells look very different from the normal cells (high grade).


Which Doctor Treats Chondrosarcoma?

Doctors in the oncology department mainly treat chondrosarcoma. With proper diagnosis and treatment, chondrosarcoma has a good prognosis.


Is Chondrosarcoma a Hard Tissue Sarcoma?

Chondrosarcoma is predominantly a hard tissue sarcoma. It primarily affects the bone, and it is the second most common type of bone cancer. But it can also affect soft tissues in some cases.


How Severe Is the Pain From Chondrosarcoma?

The pain due to chondrosarcoma usually worsens gradually. It worsens during nighttime. It does not subside with rest. A mild relief is obtained only by taking analgesics.


What Is the Appearance of Chondrosarcoma?

The chondrosarcoma appears as a lump in the affected area. It can grow in size and cause pressure on the affected area. It can cause pain that gradually worsens.


Will Chondrosarcoma Cause Back Pain?

If the chondrosarcoma is affecting the pelvic region, it can cause back pain. It will be similar to mechanical back pain. It usually worsens during nighttime.


How Is Osteosarcoma Different From Chondrosarcoma?

Osteosarcoma mainly affects osteoblasts (bone-forming cells), whereas chondrosarcoma mainly affects chondroblasts (cartilage forming cells). Chondrosarcoma cells contain scanty or no alkaline phosphatase, whereas osteosarcoma cells contain abundant alkaline phosphatase.


What Causes Chondrosarcoma?

The exact etiology of chondrosarcoma is unknown. It can be due to genetic mutations. They are also present as sequels to other diseases like Paget’s disease, Wilms’ tumor, Ollier's disease, etc.
Source Article IclonSourcesSource Article Arrow
Dr. Ranvir Sachin Tukaram
Dr. Ranvir Sachin Tukaram

Orthopedician and Traumatology


Community Banner Mobile
By subscribing, I agree to iCliniq's Terms & Privacy Policy.

Source Article ArrowMost popular articles

Do you have a question on


Ask a doctor online

*guaranteed answer within 4 hours

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. iCliniq privacy policy