What Causes Ewing's sarcoma and are there any Risk Factors?

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This information has been written for patients, their families and friends and the general public to help you understand more about what may cause Ewing's sarcoma.

Causes of Ewing's sarcoma

There has been a lot of research into possible causes of Ewing's sarcoma but the exact cause remains unknown.

Like osteosarcoma, the development of Ewing's sarcoma may be related in some way to periods of rapid bone growth. This may explain why most cases of Ewing's sarcoma are seen in adolescents.

Risk factors for Ewing's sarcoma

What is a risk factor?

A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease.

There are no known risk factors that people are born with (hereditary factors) that cause Ewing's sarcoma.

There do not appear to be any environmental factors associated with Ewing's including radiation exposure.

It is thought that abnormalities in the cell's instructions called genes may be the trigger that causes the cell to become malignant. These genetic abnormalities are called 'chromosome translocations.'

Known risk factors.

  • Gender: more common in males than females (1.6 males to every female).

  • Age: most cases are found between the ages of 10-20

  • Race: Ewing's sarcoma tends to be rarer in some racial groups. It seems to be less common in black and Chinese children compared to other races. This suggests there may be a genetic factor involved.

Can Ewing's sarcoma be prevented?

There are no known prevention measures for Ewing's sarcoma.


Last reviewed: October 2010; Version: 1.1
Review due: October 2011

The authors and reviewers of this information are committed to producing reliable, accurate and up to date content reflecting the best available research evidence, and best clinical practice. We aim to provide unbiased information free from any commercial conflicts of interest. This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. BCRT can answer questions about primary bone cancers, including treatments and research but we are unable to offer specific advice about individual patients. If you are worried about any symptoms please consult your doctor.

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