Hong Kong Med J 2009;15:434-9 | Number 6, December 2009
Initial presentation and management of osteosarcoma, and its impact on disease outcome
Janet YK Yang, Frankie WT Cheng, KC Wong, Vincent Lee, WK Leung, Matthew MK Shing, Shekhar M Kumta, CK Li
Department of Paediatrics, Lady Pao Children's Cancer Centre, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong
OBJECTIVE. To evaluate the initial presenting symptoms and management of osteosarcoma in Hong Kong Chinese children, in relation to any possible impact on disease outcomes.
DESIGN. Retrospective study.
SETTING. A tertiary referral centre of bone cancer in a university teaching hospital in Hong Kong.
PATIENTS. All children aged younger than 18 years with a diagnosis of osteosarcoma who received treatment from March 1994 to October 2005.
RESULTS. A total of 51 children were studied. The median age of onset was 13 (range, 3-20) years; 61% were males. The tumours were located in the distal femur and proximal tibia, which accounted for 45% and 22% of the cases, respectively; 24% of patients had metastatic disease at presentation. Swelling (76%) and pain (90%) were the most common presenting complaints. Approximately one third of the patients had a preceding history of trauma. The median duration of initial symptoms to first medical consultation of any sort was 30 (range, 0-360) days. The median time from the first consultation to a definitive diagnosis was 21 (range, 0-350) days; 25% were diagnosed more than 52 days after presentation. Bonesetters were initially consulted by 37% of these patients. From presentation to diagnosis, the median duration was 61 (range, 4-361) days. Analysis of the duration of pre-diagnosis symptoms did not correlate significantly with the development of metastatic disease, response to chemotherapy, feasibility of limb salvage surgery, relapse rates, or survival rates.
CONCLUSIONS. In Hong Kong, initial consultation to bonesetters was common. A relatively long delay in between symptom onset and diagnosis of osteosarcoma was encountered. The public and medical practitioners should be made aware of this disease, especially in adolescents.
Key words: Bone neoplasms; Diagnosis, differential; Osteosarcoma; Pelvic neoplasms; Treatment outcome
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