Ewing sarcoma is a malignant bone tumor that forms in the bone or soft tissue. It affects mostly teens and young adults.
Ewing sarcoma can occur anytime during childhood and young adulthood. But it usually develops during puberty, when bones are growing rapidly. It is more common in white children than in black or asian children.
The tumor often spreads (metastasizes) to the lungs and other bones. At the time of diagnosis, spread is seen in about one third of children with Ewing sarcoma.
In rare cases, Ewing sarcoma occurs in adults.
There are few symptoms. The most common is pain and sometimes swelling at the site of the tumor.
Children may also break a bone at the site of the tumor after a minor injury.
Fever may also be present.
Exams and Tests
If a tumor is suspected, tests to locate the primary tumor and any spread (metastasis) often include:
A biopsy of the tumor will be done. Different tests are done on this tissue to help determine how aggressive the cancer is and what treatment may be best.
The stress of illness can be eased by joining a cancer support group. Sharing with others who have common experiences and problems can help you not feel alone.
Before treatment, outlook depends on:
- Whether the tumor has spread to distant parts of the body
- Where in the body the tumor started
- How large the tumor is when it's diagnosed
- Whether the LDH level in the blood is higher than normal
- Whether the tumor has certain gene changes
- Whether the child is younger than 15 years
- Child's sex
- Whether the child has had treatment for a different cancer before Ewing sarcoma
- Whether the tumor has just been diagnosed or has come back
The best chance for cure is with a combination of treatments that includes chemotherapy plus radiation or surgery.
The treatments needed to fight this disease have many complications. Discuss these with your health care provider.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your provider if your child has any of the symptoms of Ewing sarcoma. An early diagnosis can increase the possibility of a favorable outcome.
Bone cancer - Ewing sarcoma; Ewing family of tumors; Primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET); Bone neoplasm - Ewing sarcoma
Heck RK, Toy PC. Malignant tumors of bone. In: Azar FM, Beaty JH, Canale ST, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 27.
National Cancer Institute website. Ewing sarcoma treatment (PDQ) - health professional version. www.cancer.gov/types/bone/hp/ewing-treatment-pdq. Updated February 4, 2020. Accessed March 13, 2020.
National Comprehensive Cancer Network website. NCCN clinical practice guidelines in oncology (NCCN guidelines): Bone cancer. Version 1.2020. www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/pdf/bone.pdf. Updated August 12, 2019. Accessed April 22, 2020.
Review Date 2/6/2020
Updated by: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.