Ewing sarcoma is a malignant (cancerous) bone tumor that affects children.
Ewing family of tumors; Primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET)
Ewing sarcoma can occur anytime during childhood and young adulthood. But it usually develops during puberty, when bones are growing rapidly. It is 10 times as common in Caucasian children as in African American, African, and Asian children.
The tumor may start anywhere in the body. Most often, it starts in the long bones of the arms and legs, the pelvis, or the chest. It can also develop in the skull or the flat bones of the trunk.
The tumor often spreads (metastasizes) to the lungs and other bones. At the time of diagnosis, spread is seen in about one-third of children with Ewing sarcoma.
In rare cases, Ewing sarcoma occurs in adults.
There are few symptoms. The most common is pain and occasionally swelling at the site of the tumor.
Children may also break a bone at the site of the tumor after a minor injury.
Fever may also be present.
Exams and Tests
If a tumor is suspected, tests to locate the primary tumor and any spread (metastasis) often include:
National Cancer Institute: PDQ Ewing Sarcoma Treatment. Bethesda, Md: National Cancer Institute. Date last modified: October 18, 2013. Available at: http://cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/ewings/HealthProfessional. Accessed: March 23, 2014.
National Comprehensive Cancer Network. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines): Bone cancer. Version 1.2014. Available at: http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/pdf/bone.pdf. Accessed March 23, 2014.
Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.