Giant cell tumour of bone in the appendicular skeleton: An analysis of 276 cases

Published online: Dec 27 2013

Rong XING, Jin YANG, Qingquan KONG, Chongqi TU, Yong ZHOU, Hong DUAN

From West China Medical School, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China


This retrospective study analyzed 276 cases of giant cell tumour of bone in the appendicular skeleton of patients first diagnosed and treated at the Orthopaedic Department of the West China Hospital in Sichuan University between 1988 and 2007. Fifty-eight percent of the tumours involved the knee region. The most common primary treatment was curettage (162 patients) combined with adjuvant local therapy. The effects of bone cement (PMMA), high-speed burring, electro- cauterization, liquid nitrogen, and phenol on the recurrence rate were also analyzed. The differences in local recurrence rates were analyzed between giant-cell tumours confined to bone (Campanacci grades I and II) and giant-cell tumours with extraosseous extension (Campanacci grade III) treated with intralesional curettage. The recurrence rate of patients who received the first treatment at our institution was 11.2%. Recurrence was observed in 31 cases and multiple recurrences were observed in 5 cases. Treatment included intralesional curettage (17.3%), marginal excision (14.3%), wide excision (1.9%), or radical resection (0%). Metastases, which mainly involved the lung, occurred in 6 cases (2.2%). There was a significantly lower recurrence rate (p = 0.004) following intralesional curettage combined with highspeed burring (n = 102) as compared with intralesional curettage without high-speed burring (n = 60). Although the efficacy of liquid nitrogen and electrocauterization did not reach significance, they seem to have a similar effect to high-speed burring. Therefore, we recommend high-speed burring as a necessary adjuvant therapy. The combination of all adjuvants (burring, liquid nitrogen, and electro-cauterization) is recommended as a standard treatment. Cement filling of the cavity after curettage was not widely used in this series, but its merits have been reported in several studies ; we therefore recommend that cement filling should be added to the adjuvants to be used after burring, liquid nitrogen and/or electrocauterization.