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Multidisciplinary approach to diagnosis and management of osteosarcoma – a review of the St Vincent's Hospital experience

Judith Zhi-Yie Tan1*, Stephen M Schlicht1, Gerard J Powell23, David Thomas3, John L Slavin4, Peter J Smith1 and Peter FM Choong23

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medical Imaging, St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia

2 Department of Orthopaedics, St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia

3 Bone and Soft Tissue Sarcoma Service, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Australia

4 Department of Pathology, St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia

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International Seminars in Surgical Oncology 2006, 3:38  doi:10.1186/1477-7800-3-38

Published: 3 November 2006



Osteosarcoma is the most common primary malignant bone tumour in children and young adults. Despite advances in the diagnosis and management of osteosarcoma, there have been few recent studies describing the experiences of tertiary referral centres. This paper aims to describe and discuss the clinical features, pre-operative work-up, management and outcomes of these patients at St Vincent's Hospital (Melbourne, Australia).


Retrospective study of fifty-nine consecutive patients managed for osteosarcoma at St Vincent's Hospital between 1995 and 2005.


Median age at diagnosis was 21 (range, 11–84) years. Gender distribution was similar, with thirty-one male and twenty-eight female patients.

Twenty-five patients had osteosarcoma in the femur, eleven each were located in the humerus and tibia, six were identified in the pelvis, and one each in the clavicle, maxilla, fibula, sacrum, ulna and radius.

Pre-operative tissue diagnosis of osteosarcoma was obtained through computed tomography-guided percutaneous biopsy in over ninety percent of patients.

Following initial therapy, over fifty percent of patients remained relapse-free during the follow-up period, with twelve percent and twenty-seven percent of patients documented as having local and distant disease recurrence, respectively. Of patients with recurrent disease, sixty-two percent remained disease-free following subsequent surgical intervention (most commonly, pulmonary metastatectomy).


Patient outcomes can be optimised through a multidisciplinary approach in a tertiary referral centre. At St Vincent's Hospital, survival and relapse rates of patients managed for osteosarcoma compare favourably with the published literature.