Bone Cancer: Latest Research

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 10/2013

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about the scientific research being done now to learn more about this type of cancer and how to treat it. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Doctors are working to learn more about bone cancer, ways to prevent it, how to best treat it, and how to provide the best care to people diagnosed with this disease. The following areas of research may include new options for patients through clinical trials. Always talk with your doctor about the diagnostic and treatment options best for you.

Intraoperative radiation therapy. Clinical trials are evaluating the usefulness of radiation therapy given inside the body during surgery for some Ewing sarcoma tumors. This is called intraoperative radiation therapy or internal radiation therapy.

Myeloablative therapy. A supplement to the treatment options for Ewing sarcoma is myeloablative therapy with stem cell support. Myeloablative therapy, an intense regimen of chemotherapy, destroys all cells that are dividing rapidly. This includes cancer cells but also some healthy cells. Stem cells are cells that create all other types of cells in the body. They may be given to the patient after myeloablative therapy to boost the patient’s recovery.

Targeted therapy. Targeted therapy is a treatment that targets the cancer’s specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival. This type of treatment blocks the growth and spread of cancer cells while limiting damage to normal cells.

A type of targeted therapy being looked at for bone cancer, as well as other types of sarcoma, is called insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGFR) inhibitors. The IGFR is an important growth protein for sarcomas. Blocking its activity may be an important new way to improve sarcoma treatment. Early results look promising, but clinical trials are still ongoing. Some research suggests that combining an IGFR inhibitor with other targeted therapies, such as an mTOR inhibitor, may be a more effective treatment. An mTOR inhibitor blocks the protein mTOR, which is another growth protein for sarcomas. Learn more about targeted treatments.

Supportive care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of current bone cancer treatments in order to improve patients’ comfort and quality of life.

The next section addresses how to cope with the symptoms of the disease or the side effects of its treatment. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Coping with Side Effects, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.