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.

Musculoskeletal doctorWe 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 oncologists, musculoskeletal pathologists and radiologists, social workers, and nurse coordinators. This team has a weekly conference to review, consult and coordinate care, so from the beginning patients have the advantage of this holistic approach.


Our center is part of the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, 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 comparitively 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; and to function 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 stategies. 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 data base to evaluate our treatment results



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


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

It is 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. It 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.

Clinic information

Caring for patients and families is our highest priority. We strive to keep referring and primary care physicians informed. Our goal is to always provide comprehensive services for diagnosis, treatment and care. 

Appointments: 612-273-9400

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.

Clinic location

Clinics and Surgery Center
909 Fulton St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Video spotlight

In this video, Dr. Edward Cheng presents moving stories of young people's nervousness, courage, and optimism before and after amputation surgery in the treatment of bone cancer.