Aneurysmal bone cysts of the spine: Treatment options and considerations

Stefano Boriani, Sheng Fu L. Lo, Varun Puvanesarajah, Charles G. Fisher, Peter P. Varga, Laurence D. Rhines, Niccole M. Germscheid, Alessandro Luzzati, Dean Chou, Jeremy J. Reynolds, Richard P. Williams, Patti Zadnik, Mari Groves, Daniel M. Sciubba, Chetan Bettegowda, Ziya L. Gokaslan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Aneurysmal bone cysts (ABCs) are benign bone lesions with annual incidences ranging from 1.4 to 3.2 cases per million people. Approximately, 10–30 % of ABCs are found in the spine. Such lesions are traditionally treated with curettage or other intralesional techniques. Because ABCs can be locally aggressive, intralesional resection can be incomplete and result in recurrence. This has led to increased use of novel techniques, including selective arterial embolization (SAE). This study aims to: (1) compare outcomes based on extent of surgical resection, and (2) compare the efficacy of SAE versus surgical resection. Clinical data pertaining to 71 cases of spinal ABCs were ambispectively collected from nine institutions in Europe, North America, and Australia. Twenty-two spinal ABCs were treated with surgery, 32 received preoperative embolization and surgery, and 17 were treated with SAE. Most tumors were classified as Enneking stage 2 (n = 29, 41 %) and stage 3 (n = 29, 41 %). Local recurrence and survival were investigated and a significant difference was not observed between treatment groups. However, all three local recurrences occurred following surgical resection. Surgical resection was further categorized based on Enneking appropriateness. Recurrences only occurred following intralesional Enneking inappropriate (EI) resections (P = 0.10), a classification that characterized 47 % of all surgical resections. Furthermore, 56 % of intralesional resections were EI, compared to only 10 % of en bloc resections (P = 0.01). Although SAE treatment did not result in any local recurrences, 35 % involved more than five embolization procedures. Spinal ABCs can be effectively treated with intralesional resection, en bloc resection, or SAE. Preoperative embolization should be considered before intralesional resection to limit intraoperative bleeding. Treatment plans must be guided by lesion characteristics and clinical presentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-178
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of neuro-oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 27 2014


  • Aneurysmal bone cyst
  • Benign bone lesion
  • Enneking classification
  • Selective arterial embolization
  • Spine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research


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