Three cases of benign giant-cell tumor (GCT) of bone with pulmonary metastasis are reported. In addition, 28 cases from the literature are reviewed. The patients were followed for a mean of 7.8 years (range from two to 29 years). The interval to metastasis ranged from zero to ten years with a mean of 3.2 years. Metastasis was not related to the number of previous operations. The local recurrence rate in the tumors that metastasized was 63%, suggesting that GCTs that metastasize may be an agressive form of the tumor. The overall mortality rate was 16%. Persistent pulmonary disease does not carry a poor prognosis; surgical resection of accessible pulmonary nodules is recommended to provide histologic confirmation of the diagnosis, and prevent future complications secondary to local growth of the implants, as well as provide a potential cure. Chemotherapy has not improved survival and is associated with significant morbidity and is thus not recommended. Adjuvant radiation is recommended only for control of surgically unresectable lesions because of its potential association with sarcomatous degeneration in GCT.
* Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Radiology. Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California.
** Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Scripps Medical Clinic, La Jolla, California.
† Department of Pathology, Children's Hospital, San Francisco, California.
Reprint requests to William J. Maloney, M.D., 300 Pasteur Drive, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, R 171, Stanford. CA 94305–5326.
Received: February 1, 1988.