Antiangiogenic therapy with interferon alpha for giant cell lesions of the jaws

J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2002 Oct;60(10):1103-11; discussion 1111-3. doi: 10.1053/joms.2002.34975.


Purpose: Giant cell tumors are classified and treated based on their biologic behavior. We hypothesize that they are proliferative vascular lesions and would be expected to respond to antiangiogenic therapy. The purpose of this report is to present a treatment protocol consisting of enucleation, with preservation of vital structures, followed by subcutaneous interferon alpha.

Materials and methods: Patients with a biopsy-confirmed giant cell lesion satisfying criteria for "aggressive giant cell tumor" were included. Instead of wide en bloc resection, lesions were enucleated and the patients started on interferon alpha-2 or beta (3,000,000 units/m(2)) 48 to 72 hours postoperatively. The subjects were followed by clinical examination and radiography, immediately after surgery and every 3 months until the bone cavity completely healed. Thereafter, follow-up was every 6 months.

Results: Eight patients (7 females), with a mean age of 18.7 +/- 11.1 years, have been enrolled. Six tumors were in the posterior mandible, and 2 were in the anterior maxilla. The mean size was 29.0 mm (range, 15 to 70 mm). All patients underwent enucleation. There were no postoperative complications, and all patients tolerated interferon. There was no evidence of tumor growth during treatment. Seven of 8 patients have completed interferon therapy, and there have been no recurrences during 1 to 6 years of follow-up. The other patient continues on treatment with no evidence of disease.

Conclusion: Antiangiogenic therapy, in combination with curettage, is a promising strategy for treatment of aggressive giant cell tumors. Combined treatment results in a high rate of tumor control with decreased operative morbidity compared with conventional treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Giant Cell Tumor of Bone / blood supply*
  • Giant Cell Tumor of Bone / classification
  • Giant Cell Tumor of Bone / drug therapy*
  • Giant Cell Tumor of Bone / surgery
  • Humans
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use*
  • Jaw Neoplasms / blood supply*
  • Jaw Neoplasms / classification
  • Jaw Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Jaw Neoplasms / surgery
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / prevention & control
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Interferon-alpha