What is Ewing sarcoma?
Ewing sarcoma is a cancer that starts in the bones or soft tissues. It is most commonly found in the pelvis, the thigh and the trunk of the body. Ewing sarcoma is also referred to as Ewing’s sarcoma, peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumor or PNET. Ewing sarcoma mostly occurs in children, the peak age range being 10 and 20 years.
What are the symptoms of Ewing sarcoma?
Symptoms of Ewing sarcoma vary from person to person, depending on the location and size of the cancer:
- The most common symptoms are pain and swelling or tenderness in the affected area. Pain may become very intense when the tumor is located near important nerves, like in the sacrum, pelvis or spine.
- Swelling is often seen, especially when the long bones of the arms or legs are affected.
- Sometimes the tumor can interfere with movement and can weaken the bones, occasionally leading to a fracture.
- Other symptoms of this type of cancer may include tiredness, fever, weight loss, and anemia.
What causes Ewing sarcoma?
Like most other childhood cancers, doctors and researchers don’t know what causes Ewing sarcoma.
The peak age range for Ewing sarcoma is between 10 and 20 years. Approximately 200 new cases of this type of tumor are diagnosed in the United States per year. It has been observed that Ewing sarcoma affects slightly more boys than girls. It is much less common in children of African or Asian origin.
What is the survival rate for children diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma?
Over two-thirds of children with localized disease become long-term survivors.
Patients with tumors that are not easily accessible to surgery, such as primary tumors in the pelvis, or patients with widespread (metastatic) disease, have a worse outcome.
Younger patients and those with smaller tumors tend to do better, although these factors seem to be less important when more intensive chemotherapy is used.
However the chances of survival can be poor if the disease has spread to other parts of the body, survival rates are less than 30 percent.
How common is Ewing sarcoma?
Approximately 200 new cases of this type of tumor are diagnosed in the United States per year.
What is the treatment for Ewing sarcoma?
Ewing sarcoma is treated with a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The treatment lasts about a year and is given mainly in the hospital (Patients are hospitalized every 2-3 weeks for a few days of chemotherapy).
What is Texas Children’s Cancer Center doing to study and treat Ewing sarcoma?
Texas Children’s Cancer Center established the Faris D. Virani Ewing Sarcoma Center that is dedicated to research and advancement of treatment for children with Ewing sarcoma.
A multidisciplinary team of experts are involved in providing the best possible patient-centered care to each Ewing sarcoma patient.
As members of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), Texas Children’s Cancer Center has access to several treatment strategies for Ewing sarcoma:
- A protocol for newly diagnosed Ewing sarcoma that has not yet spread to other parts of the body is trying to determine whether therapy can be given more frequently than the standard every three-week cycles.
- A protocol for newly diagnosed metastatic Ewing sarcoma is trying to evaluate the value of including a new drug (anti-angiogenic drug which slows down the growth of tumor-nourishing blood vessels) together with known active treatments.
More Information about Ewing sarcoma in children
PDQ is the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI’s) comprehensive cancer information database. PDQ is provided as a service of the NCI. The NCI is part of the National Institutes of Health, the federal government’s focal point for biomedical research.
The PDQ database contains summaries of the latest published information on cancer prevention, detection, genetics, treatment, supportive care, and complementary and alternative medicine. The PDQ cancer information summaries are developed by cancer experts and reviewed regularly.