Skip Navigation

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for Dana-Farber patients & families Learn more

About Childhood Adamantinoma

  • Adamantinoma is a rare, slow-growing bone cancer. It primarily forms in the tibia (shin bone). It can also occur in the jaw, forearm, hands, or feet.

    Adamantinoma most often affects teenage boys and young men. It tends to begin after the bones stop growing. While there is no known cause, patients with adamantinomas have often sustained trauma to the affected area. For most children with adamantinoma, the long-term outlook is positive.

    • Adamantinoma is a rare tumor that occurs most often in boys and young men ages 10 to 30.
    • Doctors usually recommend surgery because it is typically unresponsive to chemotherapy or radiation. Amputation is rare, but it can sometimes be necessary.
    • About 20 percent of the time, adamantinoma can spread to other parts of the body, including the lungs.
    • Ongoing follow-up care is very important for keeping children healthy and cancer-free.

    At Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, patients and families have access to world-recognized pediatric cancer expertise. The experts in our Bone and Soft Tissue Tumors Program have extensive experience caring for children and adolescents with adamantinoma of the tibia and other bone and soft tissue disorders. We treat adamantinomas of the jawbone through Boston Children's Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Program.

    Symptoms of Childhood Adamantinoma

    Adamantinoma may appear over a short time or may occur for six months or more. The most common symptoms include:

    • Pain (sharp or dull) at the tumor site
    • Swelling
    • Redness at the tumor site
    • Increased pain with activity or lifting
    • Limping
    • Decreased movement of the affected limb

    Some children may experience symptoms differently from those listed above. If you're concerned, always consult your child's doctor.

    How We Diagnose Childhood Adamantinoma

    In most cases, an injury brings a child to the doctor, where an X-ray may show a bone abnormality. In addition to a physical examination, other diagnostic procedures include advanced imaging studies, biopsies, bone scans, and blood and urine tests.

    If we confirm an adamantinoma diagnosis, your doctor will discuss the most effective treatment plan with you and your family.

    How We Treat Childhood Adamantinoma

    Doctors typically recommend surgery to treat adamantinoma. Adamantinoma doesn't generally respond to chemotherapy or radiation therapy. When treated with surgery, the majority of children with adamantinoma have a positive long-term outlook. The 10-year survival rate is around 85 percent.

    Surgical options may include:

    • Limb-salvage surgery: This procedure helps preserve the limb by removing the tumor and some healthy tissue surrounding it. Surgeons will save as much of the limb as possible to retain limb function and the original limb appearance.
    • Amputation: If the tumor involves major nerves and blood vessels, we may determine that amputation is needed. If so, we might fit your child for a prosthesis following surgery.

    We develop personalized survivorship care plans for all patients. Our pediatric survivorship programs offer care, education, and support services for survivors of childhood cancer. Survivorship services may include counseling, physical activity and fitness plans, and nutrition guidance.

    Childhood Adamantinoma Treatment Team

    At Dana-Farber/Boston Children's, we use a multidisciplinary approach to care. We integrate expertise from a wide variety of specialties, including pediatric oncology, orthopedics, and psychology.

    See a complete list of the specialists in our Childhood Solid Tumor Center.