Sarcoma Diagnosis and Treatment

Dr. Kenneth Gundle, an orthopaedic surgeon at OHSU, focuses on treating patients with bone tumors and sarcomas.
Dr. Kenneth Gundle, an orthopaedic surgeon, focuses on treating patients with bone tumors and sarcomas.

The OHSU Knight Cancer Center has outstanding depth of experience in treating sarcoma:

  • We're a Sarcoma Center of Excellence.
  • Our sarcoma clinic treats hundreds of patients every year.
  • Our sarcoma experts work together to give you the benefit of the entire team's knowledge.
  • We lead clinical trials for access to promising new sarcoma treatments.
  • We use advanced 3D technology to replace bone if needed.
  • We offer a full range of support services for you and your family, including physical therapy and rehabilitation.

Sarcoma diagnosis

We use advanced tests and deep experience to diagnose sarcoma. Your tests may include:


  • CT scan: Computed tomography scans use X-rays to produce detailed images.
  • MRI scan: Magnetic resonance imaging scans use radio waves to produce detailed images. We offer advanced MRI technology for very early detection and crucial insights into your tumor. MRI can narrow down the best treatment or see how a treatment is working.
  • PET scan: Positron emission tomography scans use a very low dose of radioactive dye to highlight cancer cells.


In a biopsy, doctors remove a tiny bit of a tumor and look at it with a microscope. This helps them figure out the best treatment. Exceptional skill is vital.

  • Core needle biopsy: Doctors use a hollow needle to remove tissue.
  • Surgical biopsy: Surgeons remove part or all of a tumor.

Sarcoma treatment

Your treatment depends on the type of sarcoma you have, where it is and whether it has spread. We offer the latest therapies, including:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Targeted therapy
  • Immune therapy


Surgery is the most common treatment for sarcoma. The surgeon's goal is to remove the entire tumor, plus a little healthy tissue around it, called the margin. This is the best way to stop the cancer from coming back. 

Our surgeons use exceptional precision and advanced technology. We use minimally invasive techniques. We have one of the most comprehensive robotics programs on the West Coast.

Some patients may need to have part of a bone surgically removed. Our surgeons are experts in bone reconstruction. We may borrow bone from another part of the body. We may even use advanced 3D printing technology to produce synthetic bone.

Learn more about cancer surgery at the Knight Cancer Institute.

Kristina Golsan, R.N., treats patients at OHSU who have sarcoma and other conditions.
Kristina Golsan, RN, treats sarcoma patients at OHSU.

Radiation therapy

In radiation therapy, doctors aim beams of energy, such as X-rays, at cancer cells to kill them. It may be the main treatment for sarcoma if surgery is not an option. We use advanced technology to pinpoint the tumor and reduce side effects.

Learn more about radiation therapy at the Knight Cancer Institute.


We may treat some types of sarcoma with chemotherapy. Chemotherapy can be part of treatment before or after surgery. Sometimes we use chemotherapy together with radiation.

Chemotherapy fights cancer with drugs that kill cancer cells. The drugs circulate through your body and attack cancer cells. They also affect normal cells, which can cause side effects. Chemo drugs are usually given by infusion (and IV drip) or injection.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved several new sarcoma medications in recent years.

Learn more about chemotherapy at the Knight Cancer Institute.

Targeted therapy

Targeted therapy is a powerful type of treatment that homes in on a molecular “target” located on cancer cells. This knocks out cancer cells while reducing side effects.

Our doctors led a clinical trial showing regorafenib, a targeted therapy drug, can help patients with advanced bone sarcoma. Regorafenib is the first new treatment for this type of sarcoma in decades.

Learn more about targeted therapy at the Knight Cancer Institute.


Immunotherapy harnesses the power of your own immune system to knock out cancer cells. Immune checkpoint inhibitors are a type of immunotherapy. New research suggests that these drugs can be effective against some types of sarcoma. Our researchers are conducting clinical trials to see if they can help more patients.

Learn more about immunotherapy at the Knight Cancer Institute.

Support and Follow-up

All sarcoma patients need support. Support and follow-up care is a critical part of your treatment. We offer a wide range of support services:

Learn more about our supportive care at the Knight Cancer Institute.

Learn more

For patients

Call 503-494-7999 to:

  • Request an appointment
  • Seek a second opinion
  • Ask questions


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Center for Health & Healing Building 2
3485 S. Bond Ave.
Portland, OR 97239

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Cancer clinical trials

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