Primary bone tumor (Chordoma/Chondrosarcoma)

Chondrosarcoma is a malignant tumor that affects the cartilage cells of the bone and arise on the surface or from the interior boney structures. They typically affect the pelvis, arms, spine, shoulders, or legs but can also develop from any bone in the body, including the skull base. A chondrosarcoma is a rare type of cancer and develops slowly. The tumor develops primarily in the bone and is no metastasis from another form of cancer. A chordoma is similar to the chondrosarcoma, but only develops in the spine and the base of the skull.


If a chordoma or chondrosarcoma is present in the skull base, the tumor usually compresses one of the nerves in the skull that is responsible for eye movement. This results in the following symptoms:

  • Double vision

  • Headache

  • Earache

  • Problems with walking

When a chordoma or chondrosarcoma is present in the spine, the symptoms vary depending on the location in the spine. The tumor can compromise the vessels and nerves in the spine, which can cause the following symptoms:

  • Pain

  • Muscle weakness in arms/legs

  • Problems with coordination/balance

  • Sensory disorders (tingling/numbness)

  • Bladder problems (incontinence)


A chondrosarcoma/chordoma grows slowly and therefore are chemotherapy and radiotherapy less effective. The tumor has to be removed via surgery, depending on the size and the location of the growth. After surgery some patients will be treated with a special proton radiation therapy. 

Within UNCH Leids University Medical Center is specialised in diagnosing and treating patients with chordoma or chondrosarcoma in the skull base and spine. You'll find more information here.

Ons advies