Chondrosarcomas of the hands and feet: A case series and systematic review of the literature

Eur J Radiol. 2015 Oct;84(10):2004-12. doi: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2015.06.026. Epub 2015 Jul 2.


Objective: To review the imaging features of chondrosarcomas (CS) of the hands and feet, with pathologic correlation.

Materials and methods: For 24 histologically-confirmed CS of the hands (n=14) and feet (n=10), 23 studies were retrospectively reviewed by two musculoskeletal radiologists in consensus. Radiographs (n=23), bone scintigrams (n=2), and magnetic resonance (MR) (n=7) images were evaluated for lesion location, cortical and medullary involvement, presence of perilesional signal abnormalities and soft tissue masses (STM). Pathologic specimens were reviewed for tumor grade (grade 1-3). Descriptive statistics were reported.

Results: CS occurred in adults (age range 32-92) and most were located in the digits (22/23 (95.6%)) rather than tarsal/carpal bones (1/23 (4.4%)). For digital CS, 21/22 (95.45%) involved the epiphysis in addition to the metadiaphysis, 22/23 (95.6%) exhibited >2/3 endosteal scalloping, and 16/23 (69.5%) were expansile (>50% of the bone width). Pathologic fractures (7/23 (30.4%)) and STMs (16/23 (69.6%)) were frequent. By MR, perilesional abnormalities were common (bone marrow edema in 6/7 (85%), soft tissue edema in 5/7 (71.4%), STM in 7/7 (100%)). Following contrast administration (n=6), there was solid (3/6 (50%)) or lobular (3/6 (50%)) enhancement. Bone scintigrams showed increased uptake on all phases (>anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS)). Pathology specimens revealed 17 grade 2 and 7 grade 3CS, with increased cellularity, necrosis and myxoid features.

Conclusion: CS of the hands and feet have common distinctive features, including involvement of the end-of-bone, significant endosteal scalloping, expansile appearance, a frequent STM, and intermediate to high grade histologic features. Additional aggressive imaging features are identified by MR (perilesional signal abnormalities) and bone scintigraphy (increased uptake>ASIS) that may be helpful clues to the diagnosis.

Keywords: Chondrosarcoma; Feet; Hands; MRI; Nuclear scintigraphy; Radiography.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bone Marrow / pathology
  • Bone Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Bone Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Chondrosarcoma / diagnosis*
  • Chondrosarcoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods*
  • Edema / pathology
  • Epiphyses / pathology
  • Female
  • Finger Phalanges / diagnostic imaging
  • Finger Phalanges / pathology
  • Foot Bones / diagnostic imaging
  • Foot Bones / pathology*
  • Fractures, Spontaneous / diagnosis
  • Hand Bones / diagnostic imaging
  • Hand Bones / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Radiography
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Retrospective Studies