How is chemotherapy used in the treatment of bone cancer?

Chemotherapy is the use of chemical drugs for the treatment of cancer. While chemotherapy works well for certain types of bone cancer like Ewing sarcoma and osteosarcoma, it may be used as a supplement to targeted therapy for the treatment of giant cell tumors, chordomas and chondrosarcomas.

The primary chemotherapy drug combinations used to treat osteosarcoma tumours are:

  • cisplatin and doxorubicin (Adriamycin)
  • high-dose methotrexate, cisplatin and doxorubicin
  • ifosfamide (Ifex), cisplatin and epirubicin (Pharmorubicin)
  • doxorubicin, cisplatin, ifosfamide and high-dose methotrexate

If an osteosarcoma does not respond to drugs used in earlier treatments or if it comes back, the following drugs may be used:

  • gemcitabine (Gemzar)
  • docetaxel (Taxotere) and gemcitabine
  • cyclophosphamide (Procytox) and etoposide (Vepesid, VP-16)
  • cyclophosphamide and topotecan (Hycamtin)
  • high-dose ifosfamide, with or without etoposide
  • ifosfamide, carboplatin (Paraplatin, Paraplatin AQ) and etoposide
  • high-dose methotrexate, etoposide and ifosfamide

Some other drugs used in chemotherapy

  • Cosmegen (Dactinomycin)
  • Denosumab
  • Methotrexate
  • Trexall (Methotrexate)
  • Xgeva (Denosumab)
  • Vincristine

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