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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Ewing's family of tumors

Other Names for this Disease
  • Askin’s tumor (PNET of the chest wall) (type)
  • Ewing family of tumors
  • Ewing’s tumor of bone (type)
  • Extraosseous Ewing’s (tumor growing outside of the bone) (type)
  • Primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET) (type)
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Your Question

What is Askin's tumor? What causes it?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

What is cancer?

Cancer occurs when cells in the body become abnormal, grow out of control, and have the ability to spread to other parts of the body (metastasize). Cancer is a result of uncontrolled cell division and growth.[1]
Last updated: 3/5/2009

What is Askin’s tumor?

Askin’s tumor, also called chest wall Ewing sarcoma, is a rare cancer of the chest wall that is usually diagnosed in young people.[2] It is included in the Ewing sarcoma family of tumors, along with Ewing tumor of bone, extraosseous Ewing (tumor growing outside of the bone), and primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET).[3] Ewing family of tumors is a group of tumors that form from a certain kind of cell in bone or soft tissue.[3]
Last updated: 10/23/2013

What causes Askin’s tumor?

In 80% to 90% of Askin’s tumors, a part of chromosome 11 and chromosome 22 are translocated. 'Translocation' means that the chromosomes have exchanged material. This exchange of material interrupts the cell's ability to grow and divide normally.[2]

In general, cancers are caused when the genes that regulate the cell's growth and division are changed. The cause of the changes is unknown, but may be due to a combination of genetic factors, environmental factors, and the process of aging. The development of cancer is not a quick or simple process. It is a progression involving a build-up of changes in a number of different genes in the cells of the body tissues over time.[1]

Last updated: 10/23/2013