A Periodical for the Sarcoma Community

Letters to the Editor - April 2010

The Sarcoma MicroRNA Expression Database (S-MED)

Unambiguous diagnosis of many sarcoma types is still a challenge for pathologists. Therefore there is a need to identify and develop novel diagnostic markers for various sarcoma types. Recently, microRNA (miRNA) transcript levels have been proposed for use in the diagnosis, classification and prognosis of tumors. However, there exist no central resource that contains miRNA expression levels of various sarcoma types.

To bridge this gap, we have developed a comprehensive, first of its kind Sarcoma MicroRNA Expression Database (S-MED)1 that we expect will allow researchers to identify and develop novel miRNA-based biomarkers for sarcoma diagnosis and classification. Currently S-MED contains over 300 tumor tissue samples representing 22 different sarcoma types. The database provides both basic and advanced data search options for exploration of the data in various text and heat map formats. We believe that making the complete data publicly available will speed up the process of marker discovery and subsequent clinical applications.

I kindly invite the sarcoma researchers and clinicians to explore this database. S-MED can be accessed at


1. Sarver AL, Phalak R, Thayanithy V and Subramanian S. S-MED: Sarcoma microRNA Expression Database. Lab Invest 2010 advance online publication, March 8, 2010; doi:10.1038/labinvest.2010.53


Call for Patients and Families – Ewing's Sarcoma

Childrens Hospital Los Angeles is conducting a study to learn more about the genetic causes of Ewing’s Sarcoma and to improve prevention and treatment. We are inviting you to participate in this study and to join the battle against this disease.

Males and females of all ages treated for Ewing’s tumor, Askin tumor, or peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumor (pPNET) of bone are eligible for this study. We are simply requesting less than one teaspoon of blood from patients, as well as their parents and siblings. For this study it is important that we obtain blood from the patient and both parents for a complete analysis, however it is not a requirement. We will pay for the blood collection and shipping costs. Participants will be mailed the necessary paperwork and blood collection kits which can be taken their own primary care physician for the blood draws. Blood samples can then be easily shipped back to Childrens Hospital Los Angeles with the provided FedEx supplies.

Patients and family members interested in participating in this research study and in the fight against Ewing’s Sarcoma are requested to please contact Dr. Shahab Asgharzadeh. You may also contact Melissa Warden at (323) 361-5642 or [email protected] with any questions. More information can be found in the brochure that describes the study.

Thank you for taking the time to read this Letter to the Editor. Your participation is important for the success of this project. We very much welcome your effort in sharing information about our study to other families or individuals with Ewing's Sarcoma. Together we can make a difference!

Call for Patients and Families – Osteosarcoma

We would like to call to your readers' attention to the GO (Genetics of Osteosarcoma) Study being undertaken by Logan G. Spector, PhD, of the University of Minnesota, division of Pediatric Epidemiology.

The Department of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota is conducting an epidemiology research study on the genetics of osteosarcoma in children. The main purpose of this study is to understand how genes might affect young people's chances of developing osteosarcoma. To do this we will compare the genes of young people with osteosarcoma to the genes of their parents. We will also look at how some lifestyle factors work with genes in osteosarcoma. Lastly, we will use medical records to see if young people with osteosarcoma grow differently than other young people.

Families are eligible for this study if:

  1. the child was diagnosed with osteosarcoma after 12/24/2007.
  2. the child was diagnosed with osteosarcoma at less than 20 years of age.
  3. at least one biological parent is alive and willing to participate.
  4. the parents and child filling out the questionnaires understand English or Spanish.

Parents of children who were diagnosed with osteosarcoma, but are deceased, may be eligible to participate.

In order for families to participate, we will ask for three things:

  • we would collect some cheek cells from both parents (if both are available) and the child to look at their DNA,
  • we would ask the family to fill out surveys, and
  • we would collect medical records from the child's doctors to see how he or she grew.

We can use cheek cells from the patient's sibling if one parent cannot participate.

Eligible patients can contact our Study Coordinator, Amanda Kabage, at 1-877-210-9550 or [email protected]

For more information, visit the GO Study website.