Purpose: To further evaluate a novel treatment protocol for the management of aggressive giant cell lesions (GCLs) consisting of enucleation followed by adjuvant subcutaneous interferon alpha therapy.
Patients and methods: Using a retrospective case series study design, a sample of patients with aggressive GCLs was enrolled between April 1995 and June 2006. Lesions were enucleated with preservation of vital structures. Postoperatively, the patients received daily subcutaneous interferon alpha (3 million units/m2 of body surface area). Interferon treatment continued with regular clinical and radiographic follow-up until the surgical defects filled in with bone, as demonstrated by panoramic radiographs and confirmed by computed tomography. Side effects, such as fever, fatigue, weight loss, decreased white blood cell count, decreased platelet count and elevated liver enzymes, were monitored. After completion of interferon therapy, patients followed for 2 years without evidence of recurrence were considered cured of disease.
Results: The study sample was comprised of 26 subjects (65% female) with a mean age of 18.5 years. At the time of this writing, 16 of the subjects have completed the protocol and are cured of disease, 6 are in remission, and 4 are in active treatment. Four subjects experienced significant side effects from the interferon, requiring modification of treatment.
Conclusions: Enucleation of aggressive GCLs with preservation of vital structures and adjuvant interferon is an excellent strategy for managing aggressive GCLs. Approximately 15% of subjects developed significant side effects limiting interferon administration and necessitating alternative therapies.