Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

What causes osteogenic sarcoma?

It has been suggested that repeated trauma to an area may be a risk factor for developing this type of cancer. It is uncertain whether trauma is a cause or effect of the disease. Cancer lesions in the bone can make that area of the bone weaker, thus, making injury more likely. However, repeated injuries to a certain area of the bone may lead to an increased production of osteoid tissue to repair the damaged area. The rapid production of osteoid tissue may lead to the malignancy. It is thought, most often, that injury simply brings the condition to attention and has no causal relationship.

Genetics may play an important role in developing osteosarcoma. Children and adults with other hereditary abnormalities, including exostoses (bony growths), retinoblastoma, Ollier’s disease, osteogenesis imperfecta, polyostotic fibrous dysplasia and Paget’s disease, have an increased risk for developing osteosarcoma.

This form of cancer also has been linked to exposure to ionizing irradiation associated with radiation therapy for other types of cancer (i.e., Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s disease).