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Cancer Center Trial Takes Aim at Treatment-Resistant Tumors

​By Tyler Smith

University of Colorado Cancer Center has launched a clinical trial to bring new hope to patients with a bone and joint malignancy that is stubbornly resistant to treatment.

The target is chondrosarcoma, a group of tumors born of unchecked production of cartilage-producing cells. The disease originates in the bones but can metastasize to other parts of the body, particularly the lungs. The lesions are especially difficult to treat because they respond poorly to both chemotherapy and radiation, said Victor Villalobos, MD, PhD, director of the Cancer Center’s Sarcoma Medical Oncology program.

There are several varieties of the malignancy, including conventional, dedifferentiated, and mesenchymal chondrosarcomas, Villalobos said. They are treated slightly differently based on the “nuanced diagnosis,” but across the board, Villalobos said, “there is no good standard of care.” The response rate for chondrosarcoma patients to “heavy chemo,” he said, is only about 5 to 10 percent, for various reasons, including the lack of vascular systems in these tumors, which limits the absorption of chemotherapeutic drugs.

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