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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2007 Mar 15;67(4):1130-4. Epub 2006 Dec 15.

External beam radiotherapy as postoperative treatment of diffuse pigmented villonodular synovitis.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.



Diffuse pigmented villonodular synovitis is a rare proliferative disorder of synovial membranes with invasive and expansive growth patterns. Radical synovectomy is regarded as the treatment of choice. However, because of the high recurrence rates, additive treatment might be useful. Radiotherapy (RT) has been evaluated with positive results, but the optimal treatment schedules are vague. We have reviewed our experience with postoperative RT in cases of suspected or proven residual disease.


Between December 1996 and January 2006, 7 diffuse pigmented villonodular synovitis patients underwent RT at our institution. The most common location was the knee joint (5 patients). All patients underwent radical surgery and were treated subsequently with 6-MV photon RT. The total doses applied were 30-50 Gy, depending on the resection status and estimated risk of relapse. For analysis, we retrospectively reviewed all patients in April 2006.


The mean follow-up time was 29 months (range, 3-112 months). RT had no acute adverse effects. At the assessment, no evidence was found of recurrent or persisting disease in any patient. Of the 7 patients, 6 reported asymptomatic limb function and excellent quality of life; 1 patient had persistent restriction of joint movement after repeated surgery. No radiotherapeutic late effects were seen.


The results of our series have confirmed the efficacy and safety of postoperative RT for diffuse pigmented villonodular synovitis. Hence, this treatment should be considered for patients with suspected or proven residual disease.

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