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Chondroblastoma: Is intralesional curettage with the use of adjuvants a sufficient way of therapy?

Background: Chondroblastoma is a rare benign cartilaginous bone tumor that represents 1-2% of all primary bone tumors. It is characterized by aggressive growth, possible recurrence after surgical treatment and, in rare cases, metastasis. Surgical management is the primary treatment and includes intralesional curettage with or without adjuvants. Local recurrence rates vary between less than 10% up to more than 30%.

Methods: In this retrospective study between 2009 and 2020 we analysed 38 cases of chondroblastoma with a mean follow-up of 27.9 months who underwent a surgical treatment in our institution. Epidemiological data, radiographic and histological examinations, different surgical techniques, complications and local recurrence were evaluated to comment on the question if curettage with or without adjuvants is a sufficient way of therapy.

Results: The study includes 25 male (65.8%) and 13 female (34.2%) patients with a mean age of 17.2 (11-51) years. The most common location of manifestation was the proximal epiphyseal humerus (34.2%), followed by the proximal tibia (26.3%) and the distal femur (15.8%). Joint involvement occurred in 28 patients (73.7%). In all cases intralesional curettage was performed; in 25 cases (65.8%) the resulting cavity was filled with bone substitute, in 7.9% (3 cases) with bone cement and in 10.5% (4 cases) with autogenous bone graft. Adjuvant hydrogen peroxide was used in 64.9% of the cases. The overall recurrence rate was 39.5% (15 cases). The following subgroup analysis showed a recurrence rate of 100% (4/4 cases) after curettage and defect reconstruction with autogenous bone. In the case of intralesional curettage and filling of the cavity with bone substitute but without use of adjuvant the recurrence rate was 50% (4/8 cases). A low recurrence rate of 11.8% (2 cases) was observed in the case of intralesional curettage, using hydrogen peroxide as adjuvant (17 cases) and bone substitute for defect reconstruction.

Conclusions: Chondroblastoma represents a rare pathology. Therapeutically an aggressive intralesional curettage with use of hydrogen peroxide as adjuvant and filling up the defect with bone substitute leads to low recurrence rates.

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