Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer in children, the sixth most common type of cancer in children, and the third most frequent cancer in adolescents and young adults. It is one of the few cancers that actually arise from bone cells. However, the cause of osteosarcoma is unknown. Most osteosarcomas arise from non-inherited errors in the DNA of growing bone cells. However, children who have inherited one of the rare diseases (such as retinoblastoma, Rothmund Thompson Syndrome, or Li-Fraumeni Syndrome) are at greater risk for development of osteosarcoma. The major goal of clinical research is to identify prognostic factors that would predict response to therapy and the risk of relapse as early as possible. The major goal of basic biology studies is to understand how normal bone cells get transformed into cancer cells and to be able to identify new therapeutic targets. Through the Osteosarcoma Clinical Care and Research Program at Indiana University Cancer Center and the Children's Oncology Group, we are analyzing blood samples of children with osteosarcoma to identify specific biomarkers.
Clinical trials are in progress at Riley Hospital for Children that will allow us to follow these biomarkers through the treatment phase and for several months afterwards. This will eventually aid doctors in the understanding and treatment of osteosarcoma. Throughout chemotherapy and for several months afterwards, a small amount of extra blood is collected each time blood is routinely drawn. For more information about this trial, please contact Joy Rupenthal at (317) 274-4415.