Chondrosarcoma is the most common form of primary bone cancer and frequently arises in people over the age of 40.

Chondrosarcoma can present in many different levels of severity, ranging from benign, low-grade or highly malignant tumours, and pathologists often struggle to differentiate between these levels.

Due to malignant chondrosarcomas being more aggressive and capable of spreading elsewhere in the body (known as metastasis), they require a much higher level of treatment. Therefore, it would be very useful if pathologists could predict those tumours at risk of metastasis to allow surgeons and oncologists the ability to provide better information to patients and chose the most appropriate treatment plan.

A cancer biomarker is a molecule which identifies the presence of cancer. Identifying a cancer biomarker for chondrosarcoma may predict the tumours progression and risk of spread. This research will analyse a cohort of chondrosarcoma samples to determine a possible biomarker for this disease by identifying genes, and mutations, involved in driving the progression of malignant chondrosarcoma.

Professor Flanagan has previously identified mutated genes that recurrently occur in chondrosarcomas, and these genes are likely to represent key drivers of the cancer. This research project plans to build on this preliminary work and will analyse nearly 400 tumour samples to correlate genetic and histological findings to the patients’ outcome. This will identify biomarkers to predict how the tumour will behave, improve the accuracy of diagnosis and ensure the patient receives the most appropriate treatment available.

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