What is Ewing Sarcoma?

Ewing Sarcoma is a rare type of cancer that attacks patients’ bones or the tissue around bones. It often begins in the soft tissue around the knee, although it can appear in any bone.

Ewing Sarcoma is most common among teenagers and people in their early 20s. It’s typical for people to see their doctor multiple times before they get a diagnosis, because the main symptom is usually ‘pain’. For somebody young who plays sport or leads an active life, it’s normal to attribute the pain to exercise.

Many patients are diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma after months and sometimes even over a year of symptoms. Unfortunately, 25% of patients are diagnosed after the cancer has spread, which means it’s often harder to treat.

And for many young patients who have been treated for Ewing Sarcoma, the cancer can often come back. It’s just as hard to diagnose the second time – but a gift from you could change that.

A teenage cancer patient at The Christie talking to a female doctor.

Why do Ewing Sarcoma patients need your help?

A donation from you could help to develop a blood test for the ‘combination gene’. This gene is a fusion between 2 genes caused by Ewing Sarcoma, where 2 chromosomes are stuck together in an abnormal way, producing a protein that drives tumour growth.

With your support, our scientists want to create a new blood test to spot this gene in patients with Ewing Sarcoma. This means our doctors can monitor patients receiving follow up for Ewing Sarcoma and discover recurrence quicker. Patients can then receive treatment much sooner – and they can get personalised treatment too.

Your support now could mean more young patients with Ewing Sarcoma could benefit from a blood test that you helped us develop. Give today using the form below.

You support could help Ewing Sarcoma patients, people like Nathan Hill. Nathan was treated at The Christie in 2011 for Ewing Sarcoma and said a test to detect recurrence could help other patients in the future. Read Nathan's story and find out about his experience of being treated for Ewing Sarcoma.

Currently, recurrence of Ewing Sarcoma is only detected by a scan once it’s large enough. This means a standard biopsy test on the affected bone. This then goes to the pathologist and patients usually receive the results within a fortnight.

With the development of a new blood test to detect the combination gene, recurrence in patients could be found even when it is too small to be picked up on a scan. Patients could get their results much quicker, and tests will be less painful and invasive. In fact, the whole experience will be a lot less traumatic in every way.

How will our scientists develop the Ewing Sarcoma test?

The research project to develop the Ewing Sarcoma blood test has now started. Our scientists hope to start routinely testing in patients as part of a research study within the next 2 to 3 years. However, it would still be a few more years after that before the blood test could be used as standard.

So far, the research team has optimised the tests in Ewing Sarcoma cell lines in the lab and are now about to start running the tests in a small pilot series of clinical samples. The progress so far has been very good in terms of research science, but it’s inevitably quite slow to get a blood test that is fit for clinical purpose.

The research team would expect to have the first paper submitted for publication on the results of the pilot series next year. After this, it will need further validation.

With your donation, the new blood test will significantly help Ewing Sarcoma patients by identifying recurrence and showing us how effective treatment is. The quicker Ewing Sarcoma is detected, the more treatment options will be available, offering better patient outcomes.

But we can’t achieve this without you. Please help teenage and young adult patients with Ewing Sarcoma with a gift today.