Childhood cancers: Ewing sarcoma

Ewing sarcoma develops primarily in the pelvic bones, ribs, femur, fibula and tibia.

Characteristics and diagnosis of Ewing sarcoma

Ewing sarcoma is highly invasive and it is therefore not uncommon to see other cancer bases within the body, especially in the lungs, skeleton and bone marrow.

Most Ewing tumors occur in children of European origin and very rarely in African or Asian populations.

Almost 95% of Ewing tumors are due to a genetic alteration. This is most frequently due to a translocation occurring between chromosomes 11 and 22, causing synthesis of an abnormal EWS-FLI-1 protein. The diagnosis involves the search for this alteration, discovered by researchers at Institut Curie.


Continuous improvement of treatment of Ewing sarcoma

Originally using radiotherapy, treatment of the Ewing tumor has evolved considerably. Today, localized forms are mostly treated using an initial combination of chemotherapy and surgery. Post-operative chemotherapy, and sometimes radiotherapy, are given to round out the treatment. The prognosis for this disease has improved with the arrival of new chemotherapy treatments.


And the research goes on

Some localized tumors, which thus logically have a better prognosis, will however evolve into a metastatic form. The search for a reliable prognosis marker, which can be analyzed from the time of the diagnosis, could help to identify, at an early stage, those patients liable to develop metastases. They could receive appropriate treatment as soon as possible, thus improving survival rates.

Researchers and physicians from Institut Curie are studying the predictive value of the presence of circulating tumor cells, in the blood stream or on other anatomical sites, including the bone marrow, at the time of diagnosis. It could thus represent a reliable predictive test for development of the tumor.