Bone and Soft Tissue Tumors Program

The Bone and Soft Tissue Tumors Program at Children's Hospital Los Angeles provides one of the most well-rounded cancer treatment programs for children, adolescents and young adults in the nation. Our Institute cares for more children with bone and soft tissue tumors than any other pediatric hospital west of the Mississippi River. It is the only program in the nation with access to an inpatient pediatric rehabilitation unit, and it is one of only three children’s hospitals in the country with its own dedicated, on-site Pediatric Radiation Oncology Program.

Oncologists in the Cancer and Blood Disease Institute partner with orthopaedic surgeons from Children’s Orthopaedic Center to treat bone and soft tissue cancers, such as sarcomas, focusing on early diagnosis, quality of life and long-term follow-up.

Our specialists treat both benign and malignant tumors, with the goal of using minimally invasive techniques, when possible, that facilitate a prompt return to physical activities. Our program is joined by a team of oncology-trained specialty nurses, social workers, adolescent and young adult support staff, and Child Life specialists to ensure that children and their families receive the very best personalized care.

Our Center is part of three research consortia, which allows us to work with collaborative research groups. We are more easily able to reach our goal to quickly transform discoveries in the laboratory to care at the bedside, giving children a better chance of survival and an improved quality of life during and after treatment.

  • Procedures and Care
  • What Is a Benign Tumor?
  • What Is a Malignant Tumor?
  • Limb Salvage Procedures
  • Our Team
  • Bone and Soft Tissue Tumor Research

The Bone and Soft Tissue Tumor Program is nationally recognized for advancing treatments for children with tumors such as:

  • Ewing's sarcoma
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Malignant soft tissue tumors such as rhabdomyosarcoma
  • Multiple hereditary exostosis and osteochondromas
  • Bone cysts
  • Benign bone tumors such as osteoblastoma, osteoid osteoma, chondroblastoma and others
  • Benign soft tissue tumors and vascular anomalies

Our specialists use leading-edge technology for tumor reconstruction and perform the largest number of procedures, including:

  • Complex bone grafting such as vascularized grafts and allografting
  • Limb-salvage procedures
  • Joint-preserving procedures
  • Joint replacement 
  • Minimally invasive procedures
  • Musculo-cutaneous flaps
  • Rotationplasty 
  • Spine tumors resection and stabilization

Benign bone tumors are non-cancerous tumors that are often diagnosed following a minor trauma, fracture or history of pain. Upon discovery of a bone abnormality, the Bone and Soft Tissue Tumors team will perform an evaluation, determine if the tumor is malignant or benign and decide the type of medical or surgical treatment best suited for that particular lesion.

Treatment options vary depending upon the size, type and location of benign bone tumors, but generally, surgery effectively treats these tumors.

State-of-the-art equipment allows physicians to treat several benign bone tumors with minimally invasive techniques, such as CT-guided procedures and radiofrequency ablation, which allow children to return to physical activities more quickly.

Malignant bone and soft tissue sarcomas, cancerous tumors, are relatively rare, but disproportionately affect children, adolescents and young adults. Tremendous strides have been made in improving the survival of children and adolescents with sarcoma. Continued efforts are aimed to also improve their quality of life during their very productive years.

Orthopaedic surgeons with the Bone and Soft Tissue Tumors program care for children with bone cancer before and after the diagnosis is made. Because the location of the tumor biopsy often affects the ability to optimally treat a cancerous limb, referring physicians are urged to consult with orthopaedic surgeons at Children's Hospital Los Angeles before conducting an independent work-up and biopsy.

Bone and soft tissue tumor treatment includes chemotherapy and surgery, as well as extensive family and child support from the care team. The primary surgical goals in treating malignant tumors are to remove the tumor and, if possible, save the normal parts of the limb. Over 90 percent of patients are able to receive limb-sparing procedures. Orthopaedic surgeons use the latest limb-sparing techniques, excising the tumor and replacing the affected bone with other bone or an artificial joint replacement. Following surgery, patients undergo an extensive inpatient rehabilitation program to regain use of the affected limb.

In soft tissue tumors, the Bone and Soft Tissue Tumors program has spearheaded limb-sparing procedures, combining high-dose chemotherapy to reduce tumor size and advanced surgical techniques.

In the past, bone cancers of the extremities were treated by amputation. Over the last three decades, the Children’s Orthopaedic Center and Cancer and Blood Disease Institute have collaborated to develop and refine techniques for limb salvage and reconstruction. Together, with advanced chemotherapy, these can save the affected limb in a vast majority of cases. Following removal of the tumor, “growing prosthesis” may be implanted to allow normal skeletal growth. As a child grows and ages, the doctors then lengthen the prosthesis over time.

The Bone and Soft Tissue Tumors program provides a comprehensive team of uniquely trained physicians, equipped with several years of experience, in the treatment of complex and rare tumors.

  • Orthopaedic oncologists
  • Pediatric oncologists
  • Pediatric surgeons
  • Plastic surgeons
  • Microsurgeons
  • Interventional radiologists
  • Radiation oncologists

Parents and children receive the time and attention they deserve through personalized care. It is important to make sure they understand the condition, treatment and prognosis, and our staff encourages families to participate in additional support groups. The team is also composed of social workers, Child Life specialists, and oncology-trained nurses.

One of the unique characteristics of the Bone and Soft Tissue Program is the multidisciplinary integration at not only a clinical but also a research level, including clinical and translational research as well as basic science. We have several current research initiatives aimed at the better understanding and management of childhood benign and malignant tumors. Click here to see a list of our early phase trials, which are open to enrollment (Link coming soon).

Oncologists at Children's Hospital Los Angeles are also developing novel drug therapies to both increase the survival rates for patients with bone and soft tissue tumors, as well as minimize side effects. The Cancer and Blood Disease Institute offers the largest portfolio of pediatric, adolescent and young-adult clinical trials in the western United States, including several cutting-edge Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trials. Please click here to see a list of all of our clinical trials.

Specific areas of interest include:

  • Effects of minimally invasive treatment of benign bone tumors
  • Reconstruction following tumor resection - limb-salvage procedures
  • Management of long-term issues related to cancer treatment - including quality of life