Secondary peripheral chondrosarcoma is the result of malignant transformation of a pre-existing osteochondroma, the most common benign bone tumor. Osteochondromas are caused by genetic abnormalities in EXT1 or EXT2: homozygous deletion of EXT1 characterizes sporadic osteochondromas (non-familial/solitary), and germline mutations in EXT1 or EXT2 combined with loss of heterozygosity define hereditary multiple osteochondromas. While cells with homozygous inactivation of EXT and wild-type cells shape osteochondromas, the cellular composition of secondary peripheral chondrosarcomas and the role of EXT in their formation have remained unclear. We report using a targeted-tiling-resolution oligo-array-CGH (array comparative genomic hybridization) that homozygous deletions of EXT1 or EXT2 are much less frequently detected (2/17, 12%) in sporadic secondary peripheral chondrosarcomas than expected based on the assumption that they originate in sporadic osteochondromas, in which homozygous inactivation of EXT1 is found in ~80% of our cases. FISH with an EXT1 probe confirmed that, unlike sporadic osteochondromas, cells from sporadic secondary peripheral chondrosarcomas predominantly retained one (hemizygous deleted loci) or both copies (wild-type) of the EXT1 locus. By immunohistochemistry, we confirm the presence of cells with dysfunctional EXT1 in sporadic osteochondromas and show cells with functional EXT1 in sporadic secondary peripheral chondrosarcomas. These immuno results were verified in osteochondromas and secondary peripheral chondrosarcomas in the setting of hereditary multiple osteochondromas. Our data therefore point to a model of oncogenesis in which the osteochondroma creates a niche in which wild-type cells with functional EXT are predisposed to acquire other mutations giving rise to secondary peripheral chondrosarcoma, indicating that EXT-independent mechanisms are involved in the pathogenesis of secondary peripheral chondrosarcoma.