Musculoskeletal Tumors

Our goal at the Musculoskeletal Bone and Soft Tissue Center is to work with physicians and their patients to achieve optimal outcomes in treating musculoskeletal bone and soft tissue tumors.

We maintain the highest level of care and treatment for patients with musculoskeletal tumors through integrating advances in laboratory investigation, clinical research and education. We work very closely with family and referring physicians.

Our approach is unique in that we have a multidisciplinary treatment team of specialists including: Orthopaedic oncologic surgeons, radiation oncologists, pediatric and adult medical oncol

  • Overview
  • Treatment Team
  • Research
  • Conferences
  • Overview

    Our center is part of the University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center, which has been designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). This prestigious designation places the University of Minnesota among the nation's top research institutions specializing in cancer. It gives us the opportunity to participate in clinical trials, enhances our ability to recruit and retain top doctors and scientists, and gives us access to significant research funds.

    Our physicians have been providing comprehensive interdisciplinary care for more than 20 years.Clinical care and research are performed within the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) designated Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota. Research is supported by the NCI and National Institutes of Health and private funding sources. Members of the team have contributed broadly to both education and scientific publications in the field of cancer.

    Musculoskeletal bone and soft tissue cancerous tumors are called sarcomas and are comparatively rare. The number of bone and soft tissue cancer patients seen at our center is among the highest in the upper midwest. Specifically, we evaluate over 400 new musculoskeletal tumor patients per year, and of those, we treat over 100 new patients each year with cancerous tumors.

    The long term objectives of the Musculoskeletal Bone and Soft Tissue Group are to improve the treatment of patients with musculoskeletal tumors through coordinated advances in laboratory research, clinical research and education. The group also functions as a resource to the medical community and the people of Minnesota by providing the highest quality treatment of musculoskeletal bone and soft tissue tumors.

  • Treatment Team

    The Multidisciplinary Bone and Soft Tissue team includes physicians from many subspecialties that are integral to its functions. They work as a team to coordinate patient care, meeting weekly to review X-rays, biopsy results, and treatment strategies. The team includes: orthopaedic surgical oncologists, radiation therapy oncologists, social workers, nurses, as well as other subspecialties as indicated. Regular members of the team are:

    -Edward Cheng (pictured above), MD, Orthopaedic Surgical Oncologist
    -Dixie Chapman-Shultz, RN, Orthopaedic Oncology Nurse Coordinator
    -Denis Clohisy, MD, Orthopaedic Surgical Oncologist
    -Kathryn Dusenbery, MD, Radiation Therapy Oncologist
    -Barbara Lace, RN, Orthopaedic Oncology Nurse Coordinator
    -Joseph Neglia, MD, Pediatric Oncologist
    -Christian M. Ogilvie, MD, Orthopaedic Surgical Oncologist
    -Keith Skubitz, MD, Adult Oncologist
    -Roby Thompson, MD, Orthopaedic Surgical Oncologist
    -Brenda Weigel, MD, Pediatric Oncologist

    Treatment methods

    -Multidisciplinary approach
    -Custom-tailored to each patient
    -Access to national clinical trials
    -University of Minnesota Cancer Center Clinical Trials
    -Limb preservation surgery
    -Reconstruction using bone transplantation or prosthetic replacement


    -Established record of care for treating more than 5,000 tumor patients since 1975
    -Survivor rates for musculoskeletal cancer patients are among the best compared to other internationally recognized cancer centers
    -Maintain a tumor database to evaluate our treatment results

  • Research

    Our physician researchers' ongoing research programs are nationally recognized for a long history of advancing cancer research. Published reports are distributed worldwide and broadly impact the care of cancer patients.

    Funding sources

    The level of research funding within orthopaedic oncology at the University of Minnesota is among the highest in North America. Funding sources reflect the recognition that our researchers are highly respected in their fields. The sources include:

    -National Institute of Health
    -National Cancer Institute
    -American Cancer Society
    -Children's Cancer Research Fund
    -University of Minnesota Foundation
    -University of Minnesota Cancer Center
    -University of Minnesota Academic Health Center
    -Roby C. Thompson Jr. Endowment Fund
    -Karen Wyckoff Sarcoma Research Fund
    -Other private funding sources

    Clinical research

    -Participation and leadership in local and national study groups
    -Tracking oncologic outcomes
    -Quality of life assessments
    -Emphasis on translational research that improves patient care
    -Collaborative research with other disciplines
    -Education and faculty development

    Research laboratory

    Our pioneering laboratory research contributions in the following areas:

    -Biology of primary and metastatic tumors in adults and children
    -Bone histomorphology, molecular biology, transgenic techniques leading to novel therapies
    -Develop cutting-edge experimental research models of cancer and cancer-related diseases leading to novel therapies
    -Studying how radiation treatment affects cancer
    -Causes and neurochemistry of cancer pain
    -Osteonecrosis, its natural history, and treatment


    Recognized track record of innovations such as:

    -Limb preservation through advanced reconstruction surgical techniques
    -Optimizing surgery with radiation therapy for soft tissue sarcomas
    -Quality of life analysis for patients with bone metastases
    -Analysis of late effects after children receive chemotherapy
    -Basic biology of how bone tumors destroy bone tissue
    -Understanding the pathophysiology of cancer-related bone pain
    -First experimental model of bone cancer treated with radiation

  • Conferences

    A multidisciplinary team conference meets weekly on Thursday at 7:00am.

    A participatory conference regularly including orthopaedic oncologic surgeons, radiation oncologists, pediatric and adult medical oncologists, musculoskeletal pathologists and radiologists, as well as social workers, nurse coordinators and other specialists as appropriate. The conference reviews specific cases, analyzing x-ray studies, biopsy results, and treatment strategies. The group may also discuss updating information on a variety of topics. Referring physicians, primary care physicians, and other health professionals are welcome to attend.

    Please contact Dixie Chapman-Shultz, RN for information about attending.

Patients coming here to be seen should bring imaging studies as well as the results of other tests that have been done. Otherwise, with advance notice, arrangements could be made to have the tests done here, coordinating them with the appointment. Diagnostic imaging, medical history, biopsy results, and other information may be forwarded to us for review.