Chondrosarcoma is not contagious. It cannot be passed on to another person by exposure to a chondrosarcoma patient. Although scientists are not certain what causes chondrosarcoma, a number of factors may put a person at increased risk.
Certain hereditary or genetic conditions are a bit more likely to develop Chondrosarcoma than those who do not have these conditions. Ollier's disease, and Maffucci Syndrome are caused by gene mutations and are not hereditary. Multiple Osteochondromatosis (AKA Multiple Exostoses) is hereditary.
People affected by these conditions are more susceptible because they already have existing benign bone tumors (sometimes mistakenly called bone spurs) which have a chance of becoming malignant. People with these conditions, who experience sudden growth spurts, or increases in hormone production, such as pregnancy, have an increased possibility of a primary benign bone tumor changing into a Chondrosarcoma.
There are other rare conditions which are more likely to pre-dispose to Osteosarcoma. But, some cases are also known to have developed Chondrosarcoma. These are the following.
Retinoblastoma, which is a cancer of the eye, often affects children much more than adults.
Li-Fraumeni, a hereditary syndrome, runs in families where a high percentage of different kinds of cancers occur. These families can be tested. If they do so, and learn which family members test positive, they can be followed closely by their physicians. If they develop a cancer, it can be detected earlier than if they do not receive regular check ups.
Rothmund-Thompson syndrome is a rare condition in itself and there are some occasions of an extremely rare occurrence of Chondrosarcoma.
Paget's Disease, is a non-cancerous condition characterized by abnormal development of new bone cells in which adults are at increased risk for osteosarcoma or chondrosarcoma.
There are Chondrosarcoma patients who do not have any of these above conditions.
Some researchers have reported that a previous traumatic injury to the bone have been a possible suspected cause for Chondrosarcoma, but so far this idea is not entirely accepted since there is a controversy and no universal agreement among all sarcoma specialists, though there are often medical articles discussing Chondrosarcoma developing at sites of previous healed fracture.
Some evidence exists that environmental exposure can pre-dispose a person to chondrosarcoma. An example of this known possibility is exposure to known carcinogenic chemicals. There is a question of gardening chemicals such as Agent Orange, also known as Dioxin.
People who have previously had radiation are prone to develop Chondrosarcoma, also.
Recently, chromosomes in the genes have been shown to have specific locations where the genetic information for chondrosarcoma resides. Continuing research of the genes and how the proteins encode for them will give tremendous insight into the growth of cells.
This information is important since chondrosarcoma is a problem with the growth of cells. Understanding the gene and the function of its protein might eventually provide the knowledge leading to better treatment. Some researchers feel there actually may be hopes that genetic manipulations could treat or prevent chondrosarcoma which may be possible in the future.
The gene mapping studies will serve as the basis for the testing of patients at risk for chondrosarcoma. Information from this kind of testing could lead to the prevention of the development of Chondrosarcoma. And it is hoped that physicians could be equipped to perform such tests in the future.
This update of September 26 2012:
A pair of genes have been found that show up inside of chondrosarcoma tumors. Researchers looked in cells from many different chondrosarcoma tumor samples and found that these two genes, called IDH1 and IDH2, were mutated.
This shows that they are involved with changing healthy cells into malignant ones.
The genes are in the tumors themselves and have nothing to do with genetic inheritance from ones family.
This is not the case with all chondrosarcoma tumors, but with many of them.
Further research will provide the opportunity to create a drug which can target and attack the mutations.
These mutations also show up in some other rare cancers, too.
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