The current College of American Pathologists cancer template for reporting biopsies of bone tumors recommends including information that is of unproven prognostic significance for osteosarcoma, such as the presence of spontaneous tumor necrosis and mitotic rate. Conversely, the degree of cytologic anaplasia (degree of differentiation) is not reported in this template. This retrospective cohort study of 125 patients with high-grade osteosarcoma was performed to evaluate the prognostic impact of these factors in diagnostic biopsy specimens in predicting the clinical outcome and response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Multivariate Cox regression was performed to adjust survival analyses for well-established prognostic factors. Multivariate logistic regression was used to determine odds ratios for good chemotherapy response (≥90% tumor necrosis). Osteosarcomas with severe anaplasia were independently associated with increased overall and disease-free survival, but mitotic rate and spontaneous necrosis had no prognostic impact after controlling for other confounding factors. Mitotic rate showed a trend towards increased odds of a good histologic response, but this effect was diminished after controlling for other predictive factors. Neither spontaneous necrosis nor the degree of cytologic anaplasia observed in biopsy specimens was predictive of a good response to chemotherapy. Mitotic rate and spontaneous tumor necrosis observed in pretreatment biopsy specimens of high-grade osteosarcoma are not strong independent prognostic factors for clinical outcome or predictors of response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Therefore, reporting these parameters for osteosarcoma, as recommended in the College of American Pathologists Bone Biopsy template, does not appear to have clinical utility. In contrast, histologic grading schemes for osteosarcoma based on the degree of cytologic anaplasia may have independent prognostic value and should continue to be evaluated.