Fibrosarcoma in Humans
While it is exceedingly rare, fibrosarcoma is a type of bone cancer that must be addressed swiftly and decisively. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with fibrosarcoma or it’s simply a possibility, the following will help you get up to speed.
Fibrosarcoma is a type of sarcoma, a very specific form of cancer known for its spindle cell malignancies and the fact that it affects connective tissue. Sarcoma can cause cancer in bones, cartilage, smooth muscle and skeletal muscle. Of course, it can also spread from its spot of origin too.
This type of sarcoma is the kind that develops in the bones. Fibrosarcoma represents roughly 5% of primary bone sarcomas. It’s a very rare form of cancer, only affecting about one person for every 2,000,000.
As the name implies, this sarcoma is the result of abnormal division of fibroblast cells. Instead of producing bone or cartilage, though, these cells make collagen. The higher the grade of the tumor, the less collagen these cells will produce. When the cell production spurned by fibrosarcoma gets out of control, the victim’s limb or even their life can be put at risk.
Being that fibrosarcoma affects the bones, this is obviously where the tumors start. Most commonly, though, it can be found in the intramedullary cavity. This is the less dense marrow space of the bone. However, periosteal and parosteal lesions have also been identified in the past and generally come with a better prognosis for the patient.
One major issue with diagnosing fibrosarcoma is that there are several other kinds of bone cancer, each of which needs to be identified properly so it can be treated correctly. Even with the help of radiographs, this can be challenging. Malignant solitary fibrous tumors, myofibromatosis, leiomyosarcoma, osteosarcoma, myeloma, metastic disease, lymphoma, desmoplastic fibroma and malignant fibrous histiocytoma are just some of the cancerous growths that can be mistaken for fibrosarcoma and vice versa.
This is why biopsies are almost always done, even after radiography has been used. The rarity of malignant bone growths means it’s important to be sure that something like fibrosarcoma is truly present before commencing with treatment. A CT scan, MRI or ultrasound may also be used to help with diagnosis.
The cancer doesn’t choose favorites between the genders. However, those between 30 and 60-years old are the most common victims. In the elderly, though, fibrosarcoma is often considered the result of a preexisting benign lesion. For example, this type of sarcoma sometimes follows enchondroma, parosteal osteochondromatous, giant cell tumors, chronic osteomyelitis and fibrous dysplasia.
Oddly enough, in these cases, fibrosarcoma is more common when fibrous dysplasia lesions are found in one bone, as opposed to many. Fibrosarcoma itself usually just attacks one bone, though it sometimes branches out to many.
Those who have endocrine disorders are considered to be at a higher risk of contracting fibrosarcoma. Other syndromes like Mazebraud and McCune Albright syndrome also seem to have a connection to this cancer.
While we know that there are some gene alterations to be found in fibrosarcoma, at this time, that knowledge really doesn’t help us as we don’t have a screening test to use for finding out who is at a heightened risk.
Similarly, although we know that the presence of numerous pre-existing lesions can mean that secondary fibrosarcoma is a potential threat, it happens such a small fraction of the time that it’s virtually impossible to use this information for anything other than speculation.
The good news is that we’re learning more and more about fibrosarcoma every day. If you think you may be at risk, though, talk to a specialist right away as this will help improve your chances.