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Chemotherapy for Bone Cancer

We often use chemotherapy in combination with surgery, radiation, or both to treat primary bone cancer. We typically give chemotherapy to kill any cancer cells that remain in the body after surgery to remove a tumor (called adjuvant chemotherapy). Sometimes we give chemotherapy before surgery (called neoadjuvant chemotherapy) to reduce the size of the tumor before our surgeons remove it. This method was pioneered at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Ewing Sarcoma

If you are diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma, we will treat you with chemotherapy to shrink the tumor and to prevent new tumors from forming.

Chemotherapy may cause damage to the bone marrow, which our doctors may need to treat as well.

If your cancer returns after initial treatment, we may use new drugs that have proven successful in treating Ewing sarcoma. We may also choose to perform additional surgery or radiation therapy. For this group of high-risk patients, we also offer a series of innovative, disease-specific clinical trials.

Chemotherapy for Ewing sarcoma may include:

  • Vincristine
  • Doxorubicin
  • Cyclophosphamide

(This combination is known as VadriaC.)

This treatment may alternate with another regimen that includes:

  • Ifosfamide
  • Etoposide.

Your chemotherapy at MSK may also include:

  • Irinotecan
  • Temozolomide


Treatment for osteosarcoma usually begins with chemotherapy, followed by surgery to remove the primary tumor and additional chemotherapy.

If your osteosarcoma has returned or spread, treatment options include chemotherapy drugs that may not have been previously used, as well as additional surgery and possibly radiation therapy. We offer a series of innovative, disease-specific clinical trials for this group of high-risk patients.

Common chemotherapy drugs for osteosarcoma are:

  • Cisplatin
  • Doxorubicin
  • High-dose methotrexate
  • Leucovorin

Chemotherapy at MSK may also include:

  • Ifosfamide
  • Etoposide