Chordoma is a rare primary bone cancer, meaning that it arises in bone (rather than spreads to bone).
The bones involved are those at the base of the skull, the vertebral bodies (back bones), and the bone of the sacrum and coccyx at the base of the spine. Chordoma is thought to arise from a persistent embryonic tissue (notochordal cells), which normally disappears before birth, but can persist in some people. However, the majority of individuals with notochordal remnants do not develop chordoma. Chordoma is part of a family of cancers called sarcoma, which include cancers of the bones, cartilage, muscles and other connective tissue. Chordomas are generally slow growing, and tend to recur after treatment.
Treatment options for chordoma are limited. Initial diagnosis of chordoma is often difficult as its presenting symptoms can mimic more common musculoskeletal pain or other more common diseases. Research has led to a definitive marker for chordoma, but now further research is needed to use these findings to discover how best to treat patients. There is little funding available for research into this relentless bone cancer mainly because it is relatively rare, occurring in only 1 in 800,000 of the population. Without a focused approach to raising money for research into chordoma, little will change quickly.Read more about what we want to achieve >