Ewing’s sarcoma

Also known as:

  • EFT
  • Ewing family of tumors
  • Ewing’s Sarcoma
  • Ewing tumour
  • TEF
  • tumour of the Ewing family (TEF)

What is Ewing’s sarcoma?

Ewing’s sarcomas are a family of bone cancers first described by John Ewing in 1921. It usually affects the middle part of the long bones (thigh and arm) and the flat bones such as the pelvis and spine. Sometimes the tumours form in the soft tissue outside the bones when they are described as extra-osseous tumours.

Symptoms include bone pain and swelling at the tumour site, but patients might also develop fevers, anaemia or weight loss from reduced appetite. Occasionally the affected bone will fracture (break) spontaneously.

The exact type of cell where Ewing’s sarcoma starts is still uncertain but it may come from mesenchymal cells that are responsible for producing our connective tissue (bone, muscle, cartilage etc).

Most cases have a typical non-inherited genetic mutation called EWS-FLI1 which can be tested for, to help confirm a diagnosis. Treatment is usually surgery to remove the tumour, preserving the limb where possible by replacing the bone with a graft or artificial bone. Ewing’s tumours are very sensitive to radiotherapy and it will often be used before and/or after surgery. Chemotherapy is sometimes used again before or after surgery.

How rare is Ewing’s sarcoma?

In the UK there were 101 cases in 2019 giving an incidence rate of 0.15 cases per 100,000 people.

Who does Ewing’s sarcoma affect?

They are most common in children and teenagers where they are the second most common type of bone cancer after osteosarcoma. It is slightly more common in males and people with a caucasian (white) background.

Why is RareCan interested in Ewing’s sarcoma?

RareCan is working to accelerate research into Ewing’s sarcoma by making it easier for researchers to connect with people who have it. You can help us do this by becoming a RareCan member and sharing information with us about your ewing’s sarcoma diagnosis. We will then get in touch with you about any research opportunities that might be suitable for you.

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Useful links

If you are looking for further support with Ewing’s sarcoma we recommend the following websites:

Sarcoma UK

Sarcoma UK

Sarcoma UK is a charity for those with bone and soft tissue sarcoma diagnoses including Ewing’s sarcoma. They provide information on all types of sarcomas and have a patient support line to help assist with any queries and worries.

BCRT logo

Bone Cancer Research Trust

Bone Cancer Research Trust is a charity that offers support and information to those affected by bone cancers, including Ewing’s sarcoma.