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J Clin Oncol. 2008 Nov 20;26(33):5368-73. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2007.14.9104. Epub 2008 Sep 22.

Osteosarcoma in patients older than 65 years.

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  • 1Department of Musculoskeletal Oncology, Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli, Bologna, Italy.



We reviewed the outcome of osteosarcoma patients older than 65 years, an age group usually excluded from protocols, to determine the different clinical features and prognostic factors in this age group compared with younger patients.


Patients treated at our institute who had high-grade osteosarcoma and were older than 65 years were observed.


Forty-three patients were eligible to be enrolled onto this study; of these, 22 were male and 21 were female. The median age of this group was 69 years (range, 65 to 80 years). Of the 43 patients, 29 patients had localized disease, and 14 patients had metastatic disease. Localizations were appendicular in 33 patients, and axial in 10 patients. Twenty-nine patients had a primary osteosarcoma, 13 patients (30%) had a sarcoma in Paget's disease, and one patient had postradiotherapy (RT) osteosarcoma. The median interval from onset of symptoms to diagnosis was 4 months (range, 0 to 73 months).Thirty-two of 43 patients received surgery for a primary tumor. Of these, 18 patients had limb salvage, 13 patients had an amputation, and one patient had palliative surgery; the remaining 11 patients received palliative RT. Fourteen patients received chemotherapy; two deaths related to chemotherapy were observed. Median overall survival (OS) for all 43 patients was 19 months (range, 3 to 229 months); 5-year OS was 22% (SE = 3%) for the whole group, and 45% OS for those patients with localized primary osteosarcoma. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that stage, volume, and surgery were significant prognostic factors. Insignificant prognostic factors were sex, type of surgery, chemotherapy, and Paget's disease.


Patients older than 65 years with osteosarcoma have a worse prognosis compared with younger patients. This older age group is characterized by a longer time lapse from the onset of symptoms to diagnosis, more metastatic cases at diagnosis, less use of limb salvage, fewer patients receiving chemotherapy, and more patients excluded from clinical trials than a younger age group.

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