Ewing Family of Tumors

General Information | Treatment Options | Resources

Treatment
  • Overview
  • Standard Treatment
  • Clinical Trials
  • Treatment By Stage
There are different types of treatment for children with Ewing family of tumors.

Different types of treatments are available for children with Ewing family of tumors. Some treatments are standard (the currently used treatment), and some are being tested in clinical trials. A treatment clinical trial is a research study meant to help improve current treatments or obtain information on new treatments for patients with cancer. When clinical trials show that a new treatment is better than the standard treatment, the new treatment may become the standard treatment.

Because cancer in children is rare, taking part in a clinical trial should be considered. Some clinical trials are open only to patients who have not started treatment.

Children with Ewing family of tumors should have their treatment planned by a team of health care providers who are experts in treating cancer in children.

Treatment will be overseen by a pediatric oncologist, a doctor who specializes in treating children with cancer. The pediatric oncologist works with other health care providers who are experts in treating children with Ewing family of tumors and who specialize in certain areas of medicine. These may include the following specialists:

  • Pediatric surgeon or orthopedic oncologist.
  • Radiation oncologist.
  • Pediatric nurse specialist.
  • Social worker.
  • Rehabilitation specialist.
  • Psychologist.
Some cancer treatments cause side effects months or years after treatment has ended.

Some cancer treatments cause side effects that continue or appear months or years after cancer treatment has ended. These are called late effects. Late effects of cancer treatment may include:

  • Physical problems.
  • Changes in mood, feelings, thinking, learning, or memory.
  • Second cancers (new types of cancer). Patients treated for Ewing family of tumors have an increased risk of developing acute myeloid leukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome, and sarcomas in the area treated with radiation therapy.

Some late effects may be treated or controlled. It is important to talk with your child's doctors about the possible late effects caused by some treatments. (See the PDQ summary on Late Effects of Treatment for Childhood Cancer for more information).

Three types of standard treatment are used:Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is part of the treatment for all patients with Ewing tumors. It is usually given first, to shrink the tumor before treatment with surgery or radiation therapy. It may also be given to kill any tumor cells that have spread to other parts of the body.

Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. When chemotherapy is taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle, the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body (systemic chemotherapy). When chemotherapy is placed directly into the spinal column, an organ, or a body cavity such as the abdomen, the drugs mainly affect cancer cells in those areas (regional chemotherapy). Combination chemotherapy is treatment using more than one anticancer drug. The way the chemotherapy is given depends on the type of the cancer being treated and whether it is found at the place it first formed only or whether it has spread to other parts of the body.

Surgery

Surgery is usually done to remove cancer that is left after chemotherapy or radiation therapy. When possible, the entire tumor is removed by surgery. Tissue and bone that are removed may be replaced with a graft using tissue and bone taken from another part of the patient's body or a donor, or with an implant such as artificial bone.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy may be used to shrink the tumor before surgery so less tissue needs to be removed. It may also be used to kill tumor cells that are left after surgery or chemotherapy. Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. There are two types of radiation therapy. External radiation therapy uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer. Internal radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters that are placed directly into or near the cancer. The way the radiation therapy is given depends on the type of the cancer being treated and whether it is found at the place it first formed only or whether it has spread to other parts of the body.

New types of treatment are being tested in clinical trials.

This summary section describes treatments that are being studied in clinical trials. It may not mention every new treatment being studied. Information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Chemotherapy with stem cell transplant

Stem cell transplant is a way of replacing blood-forming cells destroyed by chemotherapy. Stem cells (immature blood cells) are removed from the blood or bone marrow of the patient or a donor and are frozen and stored. After chemotherapy is completed, the stored stem cells are thawed and given back to the patient through an infusion. These reinfused stem cells grow into (and restore) the body's blood cells.

Angiogenesis inhibitors

Angiogenesis inhibitors are substances that block the growth of new blood vessels. In cancer treatment, angiogenesis inhibitors prevent the growth of new blood vessels needed for tumors to grow.

Patients may want to think about taking part in a clinical trial.

For some patients, taking part in a clinical trial may be the best treatment choice. Clinical trials are part of the cancer research process. Clinical trials are done to find out if new cancer treatments are safe and effective or better than the standard treatment.

Many of today's standard treatments for cancer are based on earlier clinical trials. Patients who take part in a clinical trial may receive the standard treatment or be among the first to receive a new treatment.

Patients who take part in clinical trials also help improve the way cancer will be treated in the future. Even when clinical trials do not lead to effective new treatments, they often answer important questions and help move research forward.

Patients can enter clinical trials before, during, or after starting their cancer treatment.

Some clinical trials only include patients who have not yet received treatment. Other trials test treatments for patients whose cancer has not gotten better. There are also clinical trials that test new ways to stop cancer from recurring (coming back) or reduce the side effects of cancer treatment.

Clinical trials are taking place in many parts of the country. See the Treatment Options section that follows for links to current treatment clinical trials. These have been retrieved from NCI's clinical trials database.

Follow-up tests may be needed.

Some of the tests that were done to diagnose the cancer or to find out the stage of the cancer may be repeated. Some tests will be repeated in order to see how well the treatment is working. Decisions about whether to continue, change, or stop treatment may be based on the results of these tests. This is sometimes called re-staging.

Some of the tests will continue to be done from time to time after treatment has ended. The results of these tests can show if your condition has changed or if the cancer has recurred (come back). These tests are sometimes called follow-up tests or check-ups.

Localized Ewing Family of Tumors

Treatment of localized Ewing family of tumors may include the following:

  • Combination chemotherapy followed by surgery and/or radiation therapy.
  • A clinical trial testing different drugs, doses, and treatment schedules.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's PDQ Cancer Clinical Trials Registry that are now accepting patients with localized Ewing sarcoma/peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumor.

Metastatic Ewing Family of Tumors

Treatment of metastatic Ewing family of tumors may include the following:

  • Combination chemotherapy followed by radiation therapy to the area where the tumor first formed and the places where the tumor has spread.
  • A clinical trial of chemotherapy with either stem cell transplant or radiation therapy, for tumors that have spread to the lungs.
  • A clinical trial of combination chemotherapy plus an angiogenesis inhibitor (a drug that blocks the growth of new blood vessels to the tumor).

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's PDQ Cancer Clinical Trials Registry that are now accepting patients with metastatic Ewing sarcoma/peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumor.

Recurrent Ewing Family of Tumors

Treatment of recurrent Ewing family of tumors may include the following:

  • Surgery followed by combination chemotherapy.
  • Combination chemotherapy.
  • High-dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplant using the patient's stem cells.
  • Radiation therapy or surgery to remove bone tumors, as palliative therapy to reduce symptoms and improve the quality of life.
  • Radiation therapy followed by surgery to remove tumors that have spread to the lungs.
  • A clinical trial of a new treatment.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's PDQ Cancer Clinical Trials Registry that are now accepting patients with recurrent Ewing sarcoma/peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumor.

 

 

Cancer information from the NCI PDQ service