An osteosarcoma is a cancerous tumor in a bone. Specifically, it is an aggressive malignant neoplasm that arises from primitive transformed cells of mesenchymal origin (and thus a sarcoma) and that exhibits osteoblastic differentiation and produces malignant osteoid. Fifty-six percent of all osteosarcomas present around the knee. The epiphyseal growth plates of the distal femur and proximal tibia are responsible for a great deal of the increase in height that occurs during puberty.
The overall 5-year survival rate for patients whose condition is diagnosed was 63% (59% for male patients, 70% for female patients). Despite the success of chemotherapy for osteosarcoma, it has one of the lowest survival rates for pediatric cancer. The best reported 10-year survival rate is 92%; the protocol used is an aggressive intra-arterial regimen that individualizes therapy based on arteriographic response. Three-year event-free survival ranges from 50% to 75%, and five-year survival ranges from 60% to 85+% in some studies. Overall, 65–70% patients treated five years ago will be alive today. These survival rates are overall averages and vary greatly depending on the individual necrosis rate.