Incidence and survival of malignant bone sarcomas in England 1979-2007

Jeremy Whelan*, Anne McTiernan, Nicola Cooper, Yuen K. Wong, Matthew Francis, Sally Vernon, Sandra J. Strauss

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

143 Citations (Scopus)


Primary malignant bone sarcomas (MBS) are rare and there are few studies examining their incidence and outcome. Here, the incidence and survival of all subtypes of MBS registered in England between 1979 and 2007 were analysed from patient registry data held by the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN). Over 11,002 new cases of MBS were registered, an average of 379 per year. There was no change in incidence demonstrated over the study period (p = 0.08). Although a peak incidence is observed in adolescence, approximately half of MBS are diagnosed in patients over 50 years. An improvement in outcome of MBS was observed between those patients registered from 1979 to 1983 and 1983 to 1987 (p < 0.0001), but there has been no improvement since. In the most recent period studied (patients diagnosed 1998-2002) 5-year survival was 55% in Ewing sarcoma, 70% in chondrosarcoma, 56% in chordoma and 43% in osteosarcoma. Patients diagnosed with osteosarcoma over the age of 40 years or with a non-extremity tumour have a significantly inferior outcome; 22% 5-year survival >40 years compared with 53% <40 years (p < 0.0001) and 16% non-extremity tumour compared to 48% extremity tumour (p < 0.0001). This population-based study has allowed us to confidently define the English incidence and survival rates of both the commoner bone tumours such as osteosarcoma, and rarer entities such as chordoma as well as groups with inferior outcome. The lack of significant improvement over recent decades for these diseases is cause for concern and further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E508-E517
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • bone tumour
  • chondrosarcoma
  • incidence
  • osteosarcoma
  • survival


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