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OSCAR- new heavy ion therapy for patients with inoperable osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma is the most common malignant bone tumor, and being diagnosed with this disease is a life-changing experience for those concerned. Thanks to the close cooperation between the Department of Orthopedics and the University Medical Center for Children and Adolescents, we have been able to gain much experience over the past decades in successfully treating this type of cancer. Today, we are able to help most of our patients and give them a positive outlook through a well-coordinated treatment plan involving both medication and orthopedic surgery.


Since a successful treatment concept by necessity means removing the entire tumor, treatment of osteosarcoma patients whose tumor cannot be resected completely represents a particular challenge. That is why both we and other colleagues successfully used radiation therapy as a complementary treatment option.


Over the past few years, Prof. Dr. Dr. Debus and his colleagues from our university‘s Department of Radiooncology have developed a therapy based on a completely new type of radiation: Heavy ion radiotherapy is highly effective in destroying cancerous growth while leaving the surrounding healthy tissue largely unaffected. In 2009, the Department of Radiooncology of Heidelberg University Hospital opened Europe’s first, and to date only, heavy ion therapy center.We have already used the new therapy successfully on other types of cancer which until now were extremely difficult to treat. Working closely with the Department of Radiooncology, we have also achieved the first positive results in treating osteosarcoma with heavy ion radiation.


With the support of the Dietmar Hopp Foundation we have now developed a treatment plan for osteosarcoma patients with inoperable tumors. The treatment plan offers patients in this very difficult situation a realistic chance of being cured. In addition, we expect that the study design of this treatment plan will allow us to systematically gather new data and experience in order to keep improving the therapy.


If you would like to learn more about this treatment and whether it could help you, your child or your patient, please contact us.


You can reach us by telephone at:
+49 6221 - 56 5445 or +49 6221 - 56 4555,
or by fax at:
+49 6221 - 56 1979 or 06221 - 56 4559
or by e-mail at:
strahlentherapie@med.uni-heidelberg.de or andreas.kulozik@med.uni-heidelberg.de


Our clinical trial for patients with inoperable osteosarcoma, OSCAR, has been running since 2010.  Click here for more information on the trial.




Treatment tolerance of particle therapy in pediatric patients.
Rieber JG, Kessel KA, Witt O, Behnisch W, Kulozik AE, Debus J, Combs SE.
Acta Oncol. 2015 Jan 23:1-7. PMID:25615893


Radiosensitization by histone deacetylase inhibition in an osteosarcoma mouse model.
Blattmann C, Thiemann M, Stenzinger A, Christmann A, Roth E, Ehemann V, Debus J, Kulozik AE, Weichert W, Huber PE, Oertel S, Abdollahi A.Strahlenther Onkol. 2013 Nov;189(11):957-66. doi: 10.1007/s00066-013-0372-8. Epub 2013 Jun 27. PMID: 23801068


Treatment of pediatric patients and young adults with particle therapy at the Heidelberg Ion Therapy Center (HIT): establishment of workflow and initial clinical data.
Combs SE, Kessel KA, Herfarth K, Jensen A, Oertel S, Blattmann C, Ecker S, Hoess A, Martin E, Witt O, Jäkel O, Kulozik AE, Debus J.
Radiat Oncol. 2012 Oct 17;7:170. doi: 10.1186/1748-717X-7-170


Suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid affects γH2AX expression in osteosarcoma, atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor and normal tissue cell lines after irradiation.
Blattmann C, Oertel S, Thiemann M, Weber KJ, Schmezer P, Zelezny O, Lopez Perez R, Kulozik AE, Debus J, Ehemann V.
Strahlenther Onkol. 2012 Feb;188(2):168-76. doi: 10.1007/s00066-011-0028-5. Epub 2012 Jan 18


Combination of suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid with heavy ion therapy shows promising effects in infantile sarcoma cell lines.
Oertel S, Thiemann M, Richter K, Weber KJ, Huber PE, Perez RL, Brons S, Bischof M, Kulozik AE, Ehemann V, Debus J, Blattmann C.
Radiat Oncol. 2011 Sep 20;6:119. doi: 10.1186/1748-717X-6-119


Heidelberg Ion Therapy Center (HIT): Initial clinical experience in the first 80 patients.
Combs SE, Ellerbrock M, Haberer T, Habermehl D, Hoess A, Jäkel O, Jensen A, Klemm S, Münter M, Naumann J, Nikoghosyan A, Oertel S, Parodi K, Rieken S, Debus J.
Acta Oncol. 2010 Oct;49(7):1132-40.


Non-randomized therapy trial to determine the safety and efficacy of heavy ion radiotherapy in patients with non-resectable osteosarcoma.
Blattmann C, Oertel S, Schulz-Ertner D, Rieken S, Haufe S, Ewerbeck V, Unterberg A, Karapanagiotou-Schenkel I, Combs SE, Nikoghosyan A, Bischof M, Jäkel O, Huber P, Kulozik AE, Debus J.BMC Cancer. 2010 Mar 12;10:96. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-10-96


Long-term outcome after polychemotherapy and intensive local radiotherapy of high-gradeosteosarcoma.
Hundsdoerfer P, Albrecht M, Rühl U, Fengler R, Kulozik AE, Henze G.
Eur J Cancer 2009;11-2447-51.