Osteosarcoma Treatment

At Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center, our approach to an osteosarcoma diagnosis and treatment provides better outcomes and gives you access to the most advanced treatment, surgical techniques and clinical trials. The sarcoma program combines the expertise of physicians, nurses and experienced clinical and supportive professionals to provide a team approach to sarcoma treatment.

Our program includes doctors from all the fields necessary to properly treat and diagnose osteosarcoma, including specialists in:

  • Orthopaedic oncology
  • Surgical oncology
  • Medical oncology
  • Radiation oncology
  • Diagnostic radiology
  • Pathology
  • Physical therapy

Following the diagnosis and staging of osteosarcoma, cancer specialists at Penn Medicine develop a treatment plan tailored to your particular needs. 

Our treatment options for osteosarcoma include:

Chemotherapy and Targeted Therapies for Osteosarcoma

Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells or stop their growth. Chemotherapy may be given through a pill, an IV, or an injection.

Chemotherapy for osteosarcoma may be given before surgery to shrink the cancer, as well as after surgery or in conjunction with other therapies.

Targeted therapies are newer types of therapy designed to kill cancer cells without harming other, healthy cells and tissue. Penn Medicine physicians and researchers are pioneers in the development and use of targeted therapies and are backed by robust programs to further research in the area of osteosarcoma treatment.

Clinical Trials for Osteosarcoma

Today, more and more people are surviving cancer. Clinical trials benefit patients with access to breakthrough therapies and treatments. These new advances in cancer treatment are occurring every day at Penn Medicine, giving patients hope that even greater discoveries lie ahead.

Through clinical trials:

  • Diagnosing cancer has become more precise.
  • Radiation and surgical techniques have advanced.
  • Medications are more successful.
  • Combinations of medical, surgical and radiation therapy are improving treatment effectiveness and enhancing outcomes.
  • Strategies to address the late effects of cancer and its treatment are improving quality of life.

Surgery for Osteosarcoma

Surgery for osteosarcoma is always performed when possible to remove the tumor.

Wide Local Excision

Wide local excision for osteosarcoma removes the tumor as well as some healthy tissue around it.

Limb-Sparing Surgery

Limb-sparing surgery for patients with osteosarcoma aims to remove all of the tumor and tissue without compromising the appearance or function of the limb. After surgery, a cadaver bone graft or metal prosthesis may be used to restore or maintain function.


Amputation is surgery to remove all or part of the limb.


In this rare procedure, used occasionally in very young children, the lower leg is rotated and moved to fill the removed area around the knee. The ankle now acts as a new knee and an external prosthesis is attached to the foot.

Other Treatments for Osteosarcoma

In addition to standard treatments and clinical trials, you may wish to add additional therapies and treatments such as massage therapy, acupuncture and art therapy. These therapies do not have curative intent, and are designed to complement standard treatments, not take their place.

Integrative Oncology Services

At Penn, our integrative oncology services can supplement traditional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy. While conventional medicine plays a critical role in eradicating cancer, integrative medicine and wellness programs offer you ways to enhance the quality of your life, minimize or reduce the side effects of cancer and cancer treatment, and promote healing and recovery.

Our cancer specialists are knowledgeable and supportive of complementary cancer treatments. Our cancer team works with you and your family to integrate these supportive programs into the overall care plan, while ensuring your health and safety.

The Abramson Cancer Center's range of integrative supportive services is designed to help you cope with the cancer experience and improve your overall sense of well-being.

Services include:

Joan Karnell Supportive Services at Pennsylvania Hospital offers an extensive variety of supportive care programs for patients and families, from diagnosis through survivorship. These programs are available at no cost to the patients treated at Pennsylvania Hospital, and some are open to patients treated elsewhere. These services include social work counseling, nutrition counseling, psychological counseling and spiritual counseling.

The Cancer Appetite and Rehabilitation Clinic focuses on patients with loss of appetite and weight.

The Supportive Oncology Clinic helps to manage cancer related symptoms. Integrative support programs include:

Palliative Care

Palliative care provides medical and non-medical interventions to ease the symptoms of cancer and its treatment. Palliative care includes physical, emotional and spiritual care that can enhance the quality of life for cancer patients. Palliative care can be used to complement traditional cancer therapies, or can be used when curative therapies are no longer an option to treat symptoms and improve quality of life.

Palliative care is an approach to patient care that can be integrated with curative therapies at any point from diagnosis to survivorship or end of life care. Palliative care services include palliative chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery as well as psychological counseling, art therapy and support groups for patients and families.

Penn Home Care and Hospice Services

Penn Medicine offers a full range of “at home” health care services, including specialized therapies and medications, for patients with cancer and cancer-related conditions.