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J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2009 Jan;135(1):149-58. doi: 10.1007/s00432-008-0427-x. Epub 2008 Jun 3.

Treatment options for recurrent giant cell tumors of bone.

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  • 1Department of Orthopedic Surgery, University of Muenster, Albert-Schweitzer-Str. 33, 48149, Munster, Germany. maurice.balke@web.de



Although the recurrence rate of giant cell tumors of bone (GCTB) is relatively high exact data on treatment options for the recurrent cases is lacking. The possible surgical procedures range from repeated intralesional curettage to wide resection.


Two hundred and fourteen patients with histologically certified GCTB have been treated at the authors department from 1980 to 2007. Sixty-seven patients with at least one local recurrence were included in this study. The mean follow-up was 77.3 months. The data was evaluated according the re-recurrence rate with regard to the surgical procedure for the recurrence.


The mean time until the first local recurrence was 22.0 months; the mean number of recurrences per patient was 1.4. The recurrence occurred in 69.7% (46 out of 66 patients) within the first 2 years. If after intralesional procedures (curettage or intralesional resection) no adjunct was used the re-recurrence rate was 58.8% (10 out of 17 patients) and decreased to 21.7% (5 out of 23 patients) if a combination of all adjuncts (PMMA + burring) was used. The likelihood of re-recurrence was reduced by the factor 5.508 which was clearly significant (P = 0.016). In case of wide resection no re-recurrence occurred. Seven patients (10.5%) developed pulmonary metastases. Fourteen patients (20.9%) finally received an endoprosthesis; 12 due to tumor recurrence, 2 due to secondary arthritis.


Recurrent GCTB can be treated by further curettage with additional burring and cementing with an acceptable re-recurrence rate of 21.7%. The rate of patients finally needing an endoprosthesis is 20.9%. Due to the high rate of pulmonary metastases recurrent GCTB may be considered as a severe disease.

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