Update on aneurysmal bone cyst: pathophysiology, histology, imaging and treatment.
Aneurysmal bone cyst (ABC) is a benign but locally aggressive lesion that predominantly affects children and young adults. ABC, which accounts for approximately 70% of the cases, is now recognized to be a true neoplasm, whereas ABC-like changes associated to other bone neoplasms (also referred in the literature as secondary ABC) accounts for the remaining 30%. The solid variant of ABC is also considered a true neoplasm but is rare. ABC can involve any bone in the body, and although it has a metaphyseal preference, it can involve any part of a bone and soft tissues. As with any bone tumor, the initial evaluation of ABCs should be done with radiographs followed by magnetic resonance imaging or less frequently computed tomography for further characterization. The imaging appearance of ABC is variable; however, a lytic and expansile lesion with fluid-fluid levels is the most common presentation. The main differential diagnosis of an ABC in the pediatric population is unicameral bone cyst (UBC) and telangiectatic osteosarcoma, therefore a biopsy is recommended before treatment. The therapeutic options of ABC range from curettage with or without adjuncts such as phenol, liquid nitrogen, argon laser and bone grafting or bone substitutes to more recently employed alternatives such as image-guided sclerotherapy with various sclerosing agents and monoclonal antibodies (e.g., Denosumab).
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