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Chondroblastoma is a rare, benign bone tumor comprised of cells that produce cartilage, known as chondroblasts. It is usually found in the epiphysis (ends) of long bones, usually of the lower extremity. The most common sites are the distal femur (thigh bone), proximal humerus (upper arm bone) and proximal tibia (shin bone). Sometimes it is found in the iliac crest or acetabelum (socket) of the hip.The tumor appears more often in males than females and tends to occur during the second decade of life. Most of the time, it occurs before skeletal maturity (when full growth potential of the bones is achieved).The tumor is considered benign, yet it may not always behave that way. Chondroblastoma is one of the few benign bone tumors that have the potential to metastasize (spread) to the lungs.
Chondroblastoma occurs when a single chondroblast (cell that produces cartilage) abnormally divides out of control. Why this occurs is unknown. There is apparently no association between chondroblastoma and repeated trauma.
Each child experiences the symptoms of chondroblastoma differently depending on its size and location. The following are the most common symptoms associated with the condition:
The symptoms of chondroblastoma are similar to symptoms of other medical conditions. Always consult a physician for a diagnosis.
In addition to a taking a complete medical history and performing a full physical examination, your child's doctor may use a combination of the following tests to diagnose chondroblastoma:
Children and teenagers with chondroblastoma are treated through the Bone and Soft Tissue Tumor Program at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. We take an in-depth, multidisciplinary approach to care that ensures that your child receives a personalized treatment plan—as well as supportive care before and after his treatment. For your child’s care, we draw on the expertise of specialists such as:
Specific treatment for chondroblastoma will be determined by your child's physician based on:
Treatment of chondroblastoma will likely involve one or a combination of the following surgical procedures performed by a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon:
The long-term outlook for a patient with chondroblastoma varies from patient to patient depending on:
Generally, chondroblastoma that is caught before metastasis is usually cured with surgery. Prompt medical attention and aggressive therapy are important for the best prognosis. Continuous follow-up care is essential for a child diagnosed with chondroblastoma.