Osteosarcoma Staging

Osteosarcoma staging allows physicians to uniformly describe the extent and spread of this relatively rare form of bone cancer. After a patient is diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a team of physicians, pathologists and radiologists will usually review the results of a series of tests, such as imaging scans and biopsies, to determine the stage of the bone tumor. While this information is often useful to physicians when discussing patient cases and developing treatment plans, it cannot be used to predict any patient’s prognosis, which can be influenced by many individual factors.

When staging an osteosarcoma, a physician will typically begin by categorizing it as either localized or metastatic. A localized osteosarcoma remains confined to the bone in which it originated and may or may not affect the adjacent muscles and tendons. A metastatic osteosarcoma shows evidence of spread to other bones, tissues or organs, such as the brain or lungs.

To provide further details regarding the cancer’s stage, a physician can perform osteosarcoma staging based on the American Joint Commission on Cancer (AJCC) system or the Musculoskeletal Tumor Society (MSTS) system. The AJCC system uses four key pieces of information: the size of the tumor, the extent of spread to nearby lymph nodes, the degree of metastasis and the grade of the tumor (based on the appearance of the cancer cells when viewed under a microscope). Similarly, the MSTS takes into account:

  • The grade of the osteosarcoma
  • Whether the primary tumor has grown outside of the bone
  • Whether the cancer has spread to lymph nodes or other tissues, bones or organs

When using either the AJCC or MSTS osteosarcoma staging system, a physician will assign a value to each factor and then combine the factors to determine an overall stage. There are four osteosarcoma stages, which are represented by the numbers 1 through 4, with higher numbers indicating more advanced cancers.

Moffitt Cancer Center offers a full range of advanced treatments for all stages and types of bone cancer. Based on input from a multispecialty team of cancer experts, we develop a highly individualized treatment plan for each patient. To help maintain the best possible approach for a patient, our skilled tumor board meets weekly to review the patient’s progress and fine-tune the plan as necessary.

If you’d like to learn more about osteosarcoma staging, the experts at Moffitt can explain the statistics and help put this information into the proper perspective for you. Call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online to request an appointment. No referrals are necessary.