Risk Factors of Bone Cancer

Executive Summary

Risk factors influence the chance of developing bone cancer among individuals, but individuals with no risk factors also develop cancer. The individual’s risk factors in bone cancer evolve into bone sarcoma due to the presence of several risk factors such as genetic factors involving hereditary syndromes (Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Rothmund-Thompson syndrome, mutations in retinoblastoma, multiple exostoses syndrome), Paget’s disease, enchondromas, other diseases such as fibrous dysplasia, bone marrow transplant. Patients who have undergone prior treatments such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy are at higher risk of developing bone sarcoma.

Risk Associated with Bone Cancer

The Risk Factors of Bone Cancer can be anything that influences the chance of developing any cancer ​1​. But having a risk factor, or many does not give certainty of having particular cancer. Some people with no risk factors can also develop cancer. 

The given factors may increase a person’s Risk Factors of Bone Cancer developing bone sarcoma:

Genetic factors

Hereditary syndromes due to mutation in specific genes can become the cause of bone cancer ​2​.

  • Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Rothmund-Thompson syndrome and mutation of the retinoblastoma gene have been associated with an increased risk in children of developing osteosarcoma.
  • Some osteosarcomas and chordomas have been found in families, but the underlying genetic mutation has not been identified.
  • Multiple exostoses syndrome (also known as various osteochondromas syndrome), an inherited condition associated with cartilage bumps on the bones, has increased chondrosarcoma risk.

Also Read: Benefits Of Exercising For Cancer Patients

Other conditions for bone cancer

  • Paget’s disease is a non-cancerous bone condition where bones become thick and brittle and can break easily. Paget’s disease has been linked with bone cancer in roughly 1 per cent of individuals ​3​.
  • Patients with many benign cartilage tumors, known as enchondromas, are at increased risk for developing chondrosarcoma.
  • Other non-cancerous bone diseases, such as fibrous dysplasia, may increase the risk of osteosarcoma.
  • Bone marrow transplant- People who have undergone a bone marrow transplant may be at risk of developing osteosarcoma.
Previous Treatments
  • Radiotherapy- People who have had radiotherapy for some reason can have a chance of developing bone sarcoma at the site of radiation therapy, which may appear years after many years. Other non-cancerous bone diseases, such as fibrous dysplasia, may increase the risk of osteosarcoma. Radioactive elements such as radium or strontium can build up in the bones and cause primary bone cancers ​4​.
  • Chemotherapy- Some drugs used to treat cancer, including alkylating agents and anthracyclines, may increase the risk of developing secondary cancer, usually osteosarcoma ​5​.


  1. 1.
    Sadykova LR, Ntekim AI, Muyangwa-Semenova M, et al. Epidemiology and Risk Factors of Osteosarcoma. Cancer Investigation. Published online May 27, 2020:259-269. doi:10.1080/07357907.2020.1768401
  2. 2.
    Savage SA, Mirabello L. Using Epidemiology and Genomics to Understand Osteosarcoma Etiology. Sarcoma. Published online 2011:1-13. doi:10.1155/2011/548151
  3. 3.
    Shaker JL. Paget’s disease of bone: a review of epidemiology, pathophysiology and management. Therapeutic Advances in Musculoskeletal. Published online November 23, 2009:107-125. doi:10.1177/1759720×09351779
  4. 4.
    Kalra S, Grimer RJ, Spooner D, Carter SR, Tillman RM, Abudu A. Radiation-induced sarcomas of bone. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery British volume. Published online June 2007:808-813. doi:10.1302/0301-620x.89b6.18729
  5. 5.
    Carrle D, Bielack SS. Current strategies of chemotherapy in osteosarcoma. International Orthopaedics (SICOT). Published online August 3, 2006:445-451. doi:10.1007/s00264-006-0192-x