Skip to Content

Bone Cancer Treatment

Our Treatment Approach

MD Anderson is one of the most active bone cancer treatment programs in the world. We are committed to customizing your bone cancer care to include the most-advanced treatments with the least impact on your body.

Surgery is often the primary treatment for sarcoma. Studies show the best surgical outcomes are achieved by specialists with a high level of experience in the particular procedure. Because MD Anderson’s Sarcoma Center surgeons see only sarcoma patients – and more of them than most programs – they have a high level of expertise and experience that may translate into a higher chance for successful treatment.

MD Anderson surgeons usually can avoid the need for amputation of a limb. However, if it is necessary, we have specialized reconstructive surgeons, prosthetics and rehabilitation professionals to help make that transition.

Bone Cancer Treatments

If you are diagnosed with bone cancer, your doctor will discuss the best options to treat it. This depends on several factors, including the type and stage of the cancer and your general health.

Your treatment for bone cancer will be customized to your particular needs. One or more of the following therapies may be recommended to treat the cancer or help relieve symptoms.

Like all surgeries, osteosarcoma surgery is most successful when performed by a specialist with a great deal of experience in the particular procedure. MD Anderson osteosarcoma surgeons are among the most skilled and recognized in the world. They perform a large number of surgeries for bone cancer each year, using the most advanced techniques that have the least impact on your body.

If you have been diagnosed with bone cancer (osteosarcoma), we’re here to help. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

Why Choose MD Anderson?

  • Most-active bone cancer program in the nation
  • Outstanding outcomes for bone cancer treatment
  • Innovative bone cancer therapies, including specialized surgical techniques
  • Accurate diagnosis, advanced technology and expertise
  • Clinical trials of new treatments for bone cancer

Bone Cancer Knowledge Center

Treatment at MD Anderson

Bone cancer (osteosarcoma) is treated in our:

Find Your MD Anderson Location


Surgery is the main treatment for most bone cancers. Both the biopsy and surgery should be done by a surgeon with extensive experience in these procedures. A biopsy in the wrong location can cause surgical problems and lower your chances of successful treatment.

If at all possible, the same surgeon should perform both the biopsy and surgery. The biopsy will help the surgeon locate the tumor more precisely.

The goal of surgery is to remove as much of the cancer as possible. If any cancer cells remain, they may grow and spread. To get as much of the cancer as possible, the surgeon performs a wide-excision surgery. This involves removing the cancer, as well as a margin of healthy tissue around it.

If the tumor is in an arm or leg, the surgeon almost always is able to perform limb-sparing surgery, which removes the cancer cells but allows you to keep full use of your leg or arm. To replace bone that is removed during surgery, a bone graft may be done or an internal device called an endoprosthesis may be implanted.

If this is not possible, an amputation, or removal of the limb, may be performed. Reconstructive surgery and/or a prosthesis will be needed. Rehabilitation is necessary after either procedure.


Chemotherapy may be recommended to treat osteosarcoma or Ewing’s sarcoma. In osteosarcoma, it is often given before surgery to shrink the tumor and make it easier to remove, and after surgery to destroy remaining cancer cells. Chemotherapy is also used for bone cancer that has metastasized (spread) to the lungs or other organs.

Radiation Therapy

Bone cancer is not highly sensitive to radiation, so radiation usually is not a treatment. It sometimes may be given if the tumor cannot be operated on or if cancer cells remain after surgery. Radiation may help relieve symptoms if bone cancer returns.

New radiation therapy techniques and remarkable skill allow MD Anderson doctors to target tumors more precisely, delivering the maximum amount of radiation with the least damage to healthy cells.

Proton Therapy

The Proton Therapy Center at MD Anderson is one of the world’s largest and most advanced centers. It’s the only proton therapy facility in the country located within a comprehensive cancer center. This means the cutting-edge therapy is backed by all the expertise and compassionate care for which MD Anderson is famous.

Proton therapy delivers high radiation doses directly into the tumor, sparing nearby healthy tissue and vital organs. For many patients, this results in a higher chance for successful treatment with less impact on your body.

Targeted Therapy

These newer agents are used to help fight some types of bone cancer, including chordoma. Targeted therapies attack cancer cells by using small molecules to block pathways that cells use to survive and multiply.

Our Clinical Trials

Because of our status as one of the world’s premier cancer centers, MD Anderson participates in many clinical trials (research studies) for bone cancers. Sometimes they are your best option for treatment. They help researchers learn how to treat cancer and improve the future of cancer treatment.

To find out more about clinical trials at MD Anderson for bone cancer, visit our Clinical Trials database or speak to your doctor.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center