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High tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRACP 5b) level in cystic fluid is a significant prognostic marker for postoperative recurrence in solitary bone cysts.

PURPOSE: The pathogenesis of cystic fluid storage in solitary bone cysts remains unclear. We aimed to compare the results of the biochemical analysis of cystic fluid with clinical findings. We identified a significant marker of postoperative recurrence.

METHODS: Twenty-seven male and eight female patients were studied; the median age at diagnosis was 11 (5-23) years. The mean follow-up period was 60 months (range: 14-146 months). Clinical information including sex, age, affected site, radiological findings of phase (active or latent), surgical procedure, outcome, and biochemical analysis of serum and cystic fluid was obtained.

RESULTS: The 5-year healing rate was 64.0%. Biochemical analysis revealed that total protein and albumin values in the cystic fluid were significantly lower, compared to those in the serum. Levels of bone turnover markers, such as alkaline phosphatase, bone-specific alkaline phosphatase, and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase 5b were remarkably elevated in the cystic fluid than in the serum. R values were 0.127, 0.076, and 0.095 for alkaline phosphatase, bone-specific alkaline phosphatase, and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase 5b, respectively. Areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves, calculated to assess the association of alkaline phosphatase, bone-specific alkaline phosphatase, and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase 5b levels in the cystic fluid with postoperative recurrence, were 0.57, 0.51, and 0.70, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: No clear correlation of bone turnover marker levels between the serum and cystic fluid was observed. The high tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase 5b level in the cystic fluid was associated with postoperative recurrence. The bone resorption caused by osteoclasts is considered to affect postoperative recurrence.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level IV.

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