The majority of Ewing's sarcomas result from a chromosome rearrangement between chromosomes #11 and #22. This rearrangement changes the position and function of genes, causing a fusion of genes referred to as a fusion transcript. Over 90% of individuals have an abnormal fusion transcript, involving two genes known as EWS and FLI1. This important discovery has led to improvements in diagnosing Ewing's sarcoma.
Similar to osteogenic sarcoma, trauma or injury is sometimes involved with the site at the time of diagnosis. However, this trauma is thought to bring the condition to attention rather than to have any causal relationship.
Some doctors classify Ewing's sarcoma as a primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET). This means the tumor may have started in fetal, or embryonic, tissue that has developed into nerve tissue.
Risk factors for Ewing's sarcoma
There is no way to know for sure if you're going to get Ewing's sarcoma. And there is no known way to prevent it.
Certain factors can make you more likely to get cancer than another person. There have not been any lifestyle (such as smoking) or inherited risk factors that have been directly linked to Ewing's sarcoma. However, there are a few general risk factors for getting Ewing's sarcoma.
General risk factors for Ewing's sarcoma
Ewing's sarcoma is most common in people who are between 10 and 20 years old.
Ewing's sarcoma is more common in white people than in black people or other ethnic groups.
Ewing's sarcoma affects males slightly more frequently than females.
You may have all of these general risk factors and not get Ewing's sarcoma. Or you may have none of these factors and get this type of cancer.
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