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Chondrosarcoma of the spine.

Twenty patients were diagnosed as having chondrosarcoma of bone that originated in the spine and, except for one, were treated surgically at the Mayo Clinic. The patients' ages ranged from eighteen to seventy years. Pain in the area of involvement was the first symptom in nearly all patients. Nearly one-half of the patients had detected a mass before being diagnosed. In addition, nine patients had neurological symptoms and signs when they were first seen. All patients had a surgical biopsy of the lesion, often combined with decompressive laminectomy. Five patients received postoperative radiation therapy in various dosages. No patient received adjunctive chemotherapy. All but five patients died of local progression of the disease. The five-year survival rate was 55 per cent. The median length of survival was six years. Although it is rare, chondrosarcoma of the spine can usually be identified on radiographs. Preoperative assessment must include computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and, possibly, arteriography to assess the precise extent of the disease. Although surgical ablation often is technically difficult, a wide excision should be attempted. If this is not obtainable, postoperative radiation therapy should be considered.

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