Surgical treatment of low-grade chondrosarcoma involving the appendicular skeleton: long-term functional and oncological outcomes

Shai S. Shemesh, Juan Abelardo Augusto Pretell, Patrici a.J. Quartin, Tal Frenkel Rutenberg, Sheila A Conway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: The traditional treatment for chondrosarcoma is wide local excision (WLE), as these tumors are resistant to chemotherapy and radiation treatment. While achieving negative margins has traditionally been the goal of chondrosarcoma resection, multiple studies have demonstrated good short-term results after intralesional procedures for low-grade chondrosarcomas (LGCS) with curettage and adjuvant treatments (phenol application, cauterization or cryotherapy) followed by either cementation or bone grafting. Due to the rarity of this diagnosis and the recent application of this surgical treatment modality to chondrosarcoma, most of the information regarding treatment outcomes is retrospective, with short or intermediate-term follow-up. The aim of this study was to assess the long-term results of patients with LGCS of bone treated with intralesional curettage (IC) treatment versus WLE. This retrospective analysis aims to characterize the oncologic outcomes (local recurrence, metastases) and functional outcomes in these two treatment groups at a single institution. Methods: Using an institutional musculoskeletal oncologic database, we retrospectively reviewed medical records of all patients with LGCS of the appendicular skeleton that underwent surgical treatment between 1985 and 2007. Thirty-two patients (33 tumors) were identified with LGCS; 17 treated with IC and 15 with WLE. Results: Seventeen patients (18 tumors) with a minimum clinical and radiologic follow-up of 10 years were included. Nine patients were treated with IC (four with no adjuvant, three with additional phenol, one with liquid nitrogen and one with H 2 O 2 ) with either bone graft or cement augmentation, and nine others were treated with WLE and reconstruction with intercalary/osteoarticular allograft or megaprosthesis. The mean age at surgery was 41 years (range 14–66 years) with no difference (p = 0.51) between treatment cohorts. There was a mean follow-up of 13.5 years in the intralesional cohort (range 10–19 years) and 15.9 years in the WLE cohort (range 10–28 years, p = 0.36). Tumor size varied significantly between groups and was larger in patients treated with WLE (8.2 ± 3.1 cm versus 5.4 ± 1.2 cm, at the greatest dimension, p = 0.021). There were two local recurrences (LR), one in the intralesional group and one in the wide local excision group, occurring at 3.5 months and 2.9 years, respectively, and both required revision. No further LR could be detected with long-term follow-up. The MSTS score at final follow-up was significantly higher for patients managed with intralesional procedures (28.7 ± 1.7 versus 25.7 ± 3.4, p = 0.033). There were less complications requiring reoperation in the intralesional group compared with the wide local excision group, although this difference was not found to be statistically significant (one versus four patients, respectively; p = 0.3). Conclusion: This series of low-grade chondrosarcoma, surgically treated with an intralesional procedures, with 10-year follow-up, demonstrates excellent local control (88.9%). Complications were infrequent and minor and MSTS functional scores were excellent. Wide resection of LGCS was associated with lower MSTS score and more complications. In our series, the LR in both groups were detected within the first 3.5 years following the index procedure, and none were detected in the late surveillance period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalArchives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Chondrosarcoma
  • Intralesional treatment
  • Low grade
  • Wide local excision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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