Chemotherapy is the use of medicines to kill cancer cells. Because
chemotherapy medicines circulate throughout the body, they kill cancer
cells that may have spread to other areas of the body; they also keep
cancer cells from spreading. Usually, combinations of chemotherapy drugs
Chemotherapy plays a variable role in the treatment of sarcomas,
depending on the specific tumor. For example, chemotherapy is often used
along with surgery to treat osteosarcoma
and Ewing sarcoma,
but it does not have a role in treating all bone sarcomas;
chondrosarcomas generally do not respond to anticancer medicines, so
chemotherapy typically is not a part of treatment. Similarly, different
subtypes of soft tissue tumors vary in how sensitive they are to
chemotherapy, which in turn influences whether or how chemotherapy may
be used in treatment.
Generally speaking, chemotherapy is used in two ways to treat sarcomas:
Before surgery. Chemotherapy may be given
before surgery to help shrink a tumor and make it easier to
remove. This is called neoadjuvantchemotherapy
or induction chemotherapy.
After surgery. Chemotherapy also may be given
after surgery to kill any cancer cells that remain after a tumor
is removed. This is called adjuvant chemotherapy.
Learn about the medical oncologist’s role in treating musculoskeletal
To schedule an appointment at the Musculoskeletal Tumor Center, call
866.CALL.MLH or use the online
appointment request form. Instructions for new patients are
Lankenau Cancer Center
Schedule an appointment with a Lankenau cancer specialist:
For more information, call 1.866.CALL.MLH.