Ewing Sarcoma

The Ewing's Sarcoma family of tumors is a group of tumors that form from a certain kind of cell in bone or soft tissue. This family of tumors includes Ewing's tumor of bone and Extraosseous Ewing's sarcoma. Ewing's tumor of bone is found in the bones of the legs, arms, chest, trunk, back, or head. There are three types of Ewing's tumor of bone:

  • Classic Ewing's sarcoma.
  • Primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET).
  • Askin tumor (PNET of the chest wall).

Extraosseous Ewing's sarcoma (tumor growing in tissue other than bone) is a type of soft tissue tumor is found in the trunk, arms, legs, head, and neck. Ewing tumors usually occur in teenagers and are more common in boys and Caucasians.

 

Stages of Ewing's Sarcoma

 

The Ewing's sarcoma family of tumors are grouped based on whether the cancer has spread from the bone or soft tissue in which the cancer began. Ewing sarcoma family of tumors are described as either localized or metastatic.

Localized Ewing's sarcoma family of tumors: The cancer is found in the bone or soft tissue in which the cancer began and may have spread to nearby tissue, including lymph nodes.

Metastatic Ewing's sarcoma family of tumors: The cancer has spread from the bone or soft tissue in which the cancer began to other parts of the body. In Ewing tumor of bone, the cancer most often spreads to the lung, other bones, and bone marrow.

 

Treatment of Ewing's Sarcoma

 

Three types of standard treatment are used:

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is part of the treatment for all patients with Ewing tumors. It is usually given first, to shrink the tumor before treatment with surgery or radiation therapy. It may also be given to kill any tumor cells that have spread to other parts of the body.

Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. When chemotherapy is taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle, the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body (systemic chemotherapy). When chemotherapy is placed directly into the spinal column, an organ, or a body cavity such as the abdomen, the drugs mainly affect cancer cells in those areas (regional chemotherapy). Combination chemotherapy is treatment using more than one anticancer drug. The way the chemotherapy is given depends on the type of the cancer being treated and whether it is found at the place it first formed only or whether it has spread to other parts of the body.

Surgery

Surgery is usually done to remove cancer that is left after chemotherapy or radiation therapy. When possible, the entire tumor is removed by surgery. Tissue and bone that are removed may be replaced with a graft using tissue and bone taken from another part of the patient's body or a donor, or with an implant such as artificial bone.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy may be used to shrink the tumor before surgery so less tissue needs to be removed. It may also be used to kill tumor cells that are left after surgery or chemotherapy. Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. There are two types of radiation therapy. External radiation therapy uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer. Internal radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters that are placed directly into or near the cancer. The way the radiation therapy is given depends on the type of the cancer being treated and whether it is found at the place it first formed only or whether it has spread to other parts of the body.

 

New types of treatment are being tested in clinical trials.

 

Patients may want to think about taking part in a clinical trial. Patients can enter clinical trials before, during, or after starting their cancer treatment.

Search for clinical trials in Georgia.

Adapted from the National Cancer Institute's PDQ Database: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/ewings/Patient/page1. (Accessed July 2016)