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Natural History Study of Rare Solid Tumors

You can help improve treatment options for chordoma

Natural history studies compile information from a large number of patients to better understand the “history” of a disease over a long period of time. This study will provide us with a comprehensive, detailed understanding of the natural course of chordoma from the time it forms, to when it first causes symptoms, and through every clinical stage after that.

Researchers with the My Pediatric and Adult Rare Tumor (MyPART) Network at the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) are currently enrolling chordoma patients in the Natural History Study of Rare Solid Tumors. Clinical and biological information collected by the study, including tumor tissue samples, will provide a better understanding of how chordomas develop and grow, and how we can more effectively treat them.

Watch a video about this study

Why this study is important

Knowledge of the natural history of chordoma is critical to the process of getting treatments approved for chordoma. Researchers will use data from this natural history study to gain new insights into the biology of chordoma and develop treatments that are more tailored to chordoma. Additionally, we must be able to demonstrate that new treatments change the natural history of chordoma in order for them to be approved — having this baseline data will make it possible to meaningfully assess the effect of new treatments in clinical trials.

Hear more about how a natural history study will further chordoma research »

Who can participate

Chordoma patients and survivors anywhere in the world and at any stage of treatment — before, during, or after — are able to enroll. Because this is an informational study and not a treatment study, participants are not required to visit the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center in person. Pediatric patients over the age of 1 year can be enrolled in the study by their parent or guardian.

How the study works

Once you send an initial email to the study team to learn more about the study, they aim to respond to you within 24-48 hours. As with all clinical studies, there is a screening process you must go through before you enroll. The team at NCI will collect certain medical records, provide you with more information about the study, answer any questions you may have, and then inform you of your rights as a study participant (informed consent).

See “What can I expect while participating in the study?” from FAQs below for details about the process after you enroll.

How to enroll in the study

Study updates


Publication title


May 2024

Researchers at NCI performed germline genetic testing on blood or saliva samples of 24 chordoma patients enrolled in the Natural History Study of Rare Solid Tumors. Germline genetic testing is a test that looks for changes (mutations) in the DNA of non-cancer cells; these changes are present at birth and are sometimes inheritable (passed down from parent to offspring). The team discovered that 9 of the chordoma patients in this small study harbor mutations in genes known to predispose people to other cancers such as breast, colon, and prostate. These findings have implications for genetic counseling, clinical management, and universal germline genetic testing for chordoma patients. Read a more in-depth summary of these findings »

June 2023

Report on the multidisciplinary expert clinic that was held in March 2019. Twelve patients (median age: 14 years) attended the clinic, including four patients with active disease and three patients with poorly differentiated chordoma responsive to systemic therapy. Consensus treatment, management, and recommendations were provided to patients.

Frequently asked questions

Additional questions?

If you have more questions about this study or other clinical trials that may be options for chordoma patients, please contact a Chordoma Foundation Patient Navigator.

For researchers and clinicians

If you would like to help your patients enroll in the Natural History Study of Rare Solid Tumors, please email