Bone and soft tissue tumors form in the body’s connective tissues, which include bone, cartilage, blood and fat. These tumors fall into two major categories: benign (non-cancerous) and malignant (cancerous). Benign tumors respond well to surgery, especially if they cause symptoms or injury to underlying bone or surrounding soft tissue. Malignant tumors, often called sarcomas, typically require treatment with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy and surgery.
Located in Boston, MA, the Bone & Soft Tissue Program at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center has the expertise to treat a wide range of newly diagnosed and relapsed musculoskeletal cancers and benign tumors, including:
A quick and accurate diagnosis of cancer means that treatment can begin sooner rather than later. Our pediatric solid tumor specialists may perform a number of different tests to diagnose a musculoskeletal tumor. These include special diagnostic imaging studies such as X-rays, ultrasound and MRI, PET and CT scans, as well as magnetic resonance spectroscopy, a special test to detect metabolic changes in tissue, particularly muscle. We also perform bone scans, biopsies (including minimally invasive CT-guided core needle biopsies), bone marrow aspiration, and molecular diagnostic and genetic testing, which can help confirm the diagnosis.
Benign bone and soft tissue tumors are primarily treated with surgery. Malignant tumors are typically treated with a combination of chemotherapy, surgery or radiation therapy. We provide the following types of procedures:
Dana-Farber/Boston Children's patients have access to the broadest set of pediatric and oncologic and surgical expertise available. The breadth of our expertise allows us to assemble a team of specialists to meet the specific needs of each patient.
We offer a multidisciplinary approach to patient care. Our team includes pediatric orthopedic and general surgeons, pediatric oncologists, radiation oncologists, oncologic orthopedists, and rehabilitation specialists, including physical and occupational therapists. Many of our physicians are also active researchers, so our patients have access to the very best and up-to-date treatments available.
We round out the team with experts who help the child prepare for life during and after treatment, including psychiatrists and psychologists, child life specialists, social workers, nutritionists, and school specialists.
Dana-Farber/Boston Children's is a world leader in opening new avenues of translational research, bringing laboratory advances to the bedside and doctors’ offices as quickly as possible. We also conduct extensive laboratory research to identify new treatments and improve therapies for bone and soft tissue tumors. Our researchers are routinely directing or participating in national and international clinical trials to develop new treatments for patients with newly diagnosed or relapsed bone and soft tissue tumors.
We are coordinating numerous clinical trials that will help clinicians better understand and treat sarcomas. One of our pediatric oncologist/researchers is conducting a study in mice in order to identify new treatments for osteosarcoma. And, we recently participated in a study demonstrating that interval compression, a way of giving chemotherapy more intensively, improves outcomes for patients with Ewing sarcoma. Through this research, our physicians work to improve therapeutic approaches and outcomes for bone and soft tissue tumors.
Kathryn Janeway MD talks about caring for children with solid tumors. She is always inspired by the resilience of children with cancer, and their families.