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It is possible that the main title of the report Chordoma is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.


  • Clival Chordoma
  • Familial Chordoma
  • Intracranial Chordoma
  • Sacrococcygeal Chordoma
  • Skull Base Chordoma
  • Spinal Chordoma

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

A chordoma is a rare tumor that develops in the bones of the skull and the spine. These tumors arise from the remnants of the notochord, a flexible, rod-like structure that provides support to the developing embryo. During fetal development, the notochord is replaced by the bones of the spine. Notochordal cells that persist within the spinal column may give rise to chordoma. Chordomas are slow growing tumors that cause destruction of the surrounding bone and eventually extend into the surrounding soft tissue. Sometimes chordoma spreads through the bloodstream (metastasizes) to other organs, such as the lungs, lymph nodes, liver or other bones. Although chordoma can develop at any point during life, it most commonly occurs in older adults. The symptoms associated with a chordoma depend upon the size and location of the tumor. Almost all cases of chordoma occur randomly for no apparent reason. In extremely rare cases, chordomas may develop in multiple members of the same family as a result of certain genetic risk factors (familial chordoma).

Chordomas may be classified as a type of sarcoma. Sarcoma is a general term for a group of cancers that can affect bone or connective tissue - the tissues that connect, support and surround various structures and organs in the body. Although chordomas are primary bone tumors, they are sometimes classified as central nervous system tumors when they occur near the skull base.


American Brain Tumor Association
8550 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue, Suite 550
Chicago, IL 60631
Tel: (773)577-8750
Fax: (773)577-8738
Tel: (800)886-2282

American Cancer Society, Inc.
250 Williams NW St
Ste 6000
Atlanta, GA 30303
Tel: (404)320-3333
Tel: (800)227-2345
TDD: (866)228-4327

National Cancer Institute
6116 Executive Blvd Suite 300
Bethesda, MD 20892-8322
Tel: (301)435-3848
Tel: (800)422-6237
TDD: (800)332-8615

Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada
620 Colborne Street
Suite 301
Ontario, N6B 3R9
Tel: 5196427755
Fax: 5196427192
Tel: 8002655106

Brain Tumour UK
Tower House
Latimer Park
Bucks, HP5 1TU
United Kingdom
Tel: 08454500386

Cancer Research UK
Angel Building
407 St John Street
London, EC1V 4AD
United Kingdom
Tel: 020 7242 0200
Fax: 02071216700

Rare Cancer Alliance
1649 North Pacana Way
Green Valley, AZ 85614

Chordoma Support Group
451 Caesar Avenue
Ontario, L6J 3Z1
Tel: 9058450372

Friends of Cancer Research
1800 M Street NW
Suite 1050 South
Washington, DC 22202
Tel: (202)944-6700

National Brain Tumor Society
55 Chapel Street
Suite 200
Newton, MA 02458
Tel: (617)924-9997
Fax: (617)924-9998
Tel: (800) 770-8287

Chordoma Foundation
PO Box 2127
Durham, NC 27701
Tel: (919)809-6779
Fax: (866)367-3910
Tel: (888)502-6109

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

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Last Updated:  5/15/2014
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