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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 88-90

Chondroblastoma: Report of two cases diagnosed by cytology

Department of Pathology, Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India

Date of Web Publication9-Jan-2015

Correspondence Address:
Jayasree Kattoor
Department of Pathology, Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram - 695 011, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2278-0513.149059

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Chondroblastoma is an uncommon benign cartilage producing neoplasm with a characteristic epiphyseal location. This report documents the cytological features of two cases of chondroblastomas diagnosed by cytology. One of the two cases had an unusual location in the temporomandibular region and the other was located in the epi-metaphyseal region of the right humerus. Smears characteristically revealed chondroblasts and osteoclast-like giant cells. The cytologic diagnosis of chondroblastoma was confirmed on both cases by histopathology. The radiologic appearance and differential diagnosis in both cases are discussed.

Keywords: Chondroblastoma, chondroblasts, osteoclast-like giant cells, temporomandibular

How to cite this article:
Vasudevan JA, Nayak N, Nair P S, Kattoor J. Chondroblastoma: Report of two cases diagnosed by cytology. Clin Cancer Investig J 2015;4:88-90

How to cite this URL:
Vasudevan JA, Nayak N, Nair P S, Kattoor J. Chondroblastoma: Report of two cases diagnosed by cytology. Clin Cancer Investig J [serial online] 2015 [cited 2020 Feb 26];4:88-90. Available from:

  Introduction Top

Chondroblastoma is a benign cartilage producing tumor typically affecting the epiphysis of long bones in skeletally immature individuals. [1] It can occur in unusual locations like the bones of the skull. [2] Tumors in unusual locations, atypical clinical presentations, or complicated by aneurysmal bone cyst may pose diagnostic difficulty. [3] We describe two cases of chondroblastoma, one located in the epi-metaphyseal region of the humerus, and the other located in the temporomandibular region. Both cases were practically challenging, presented clinically and radiologically simulating other pathologic processes and the diagnosis was suggested by cytology and confirmed by histopathology.


Case 1

A 15-year-old male presented with pain in the right shoulder joint of 1-year duration and pathological fracture. Local examination revealed diffuse swelling in right shoulder with painful movements. Clinical impression in this case was osteosarcoma. Routine laboratory investigations of this patient were within normal limits. Radiology showed irregular lytic lesion in the epi-metaphyseal region of the right humerus with pathological fracture and linear periosteal reaction [Figure 1]a. Bone scan revealed increased uptake over the primary site. Fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) was performed. Moderately cellular smears showed atypical cells with a moderate amount of cytoplasm and round to oval shaped nucleus with fine chromatin, nuclear grooves and small nucleoli, dispersed singly and in small clusters with scattered multinucleated osteoclast-like giant cells [Figure 1]b and c. A diagnosis of chondroblastoma was suggested on FNAB and advised histopathology confirmation. Surgical curettage was done, and histopathology sections showed neoplasm composed of sheets of round to oval cells having well-defined borders and embedded within lobules of myxoid matrix. Nuclei were vesicular with few cells showing nuclear grooving [Figure 1]d. Chicken wire calcifications and scattered osteoclast-like giant cells were present. Thus, diagnosis of chondroblastoma was confirmed. The patient is on follow-up with disease free interval of more than 5 years.
Figure 1: (a) Irregular lytic lesion in the epi-metaphyseal region of the right humerus with pathological fracture and linear periosteal reaction. (b) Moderately, cellular smears showing atypical cells with moderate cytoplasm and round to oval nucleus admixed with scattered osteoclast-like giant cells (Pap, ×400). (c) Cells showing nuclear grooves (Pap, ×1000). (d) Sheets of neoplastic cells with nuclear grooves (H and E, ×1000)

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Case 2

A 27-year-old male patient presented with hearing loss of 2 weeks duration. Local examination showed firm swelling in the preauricular region measuring 4 cm × 3 cm. FNAB was done in a local hospital and reported as Langerhans cell histiocytosis and thus referred to our institution for further evaluation. Routine laboratory investigations were within normal limits. Computed tomography scan of the skull showed a destructive bone lesion involving the squamo-petromastoid region of right temporal bone with destruction of temporo articular portion of temporomandibular joint [Figure 2]a. The lesion was extending to middle cranial fossa and infra-temporal fossa. Bone scan revealed abnormal bone reactivity in the right temporal bone. FNAB was repeated in our institution which showed plump oval to spindly cells with vesicular grooved nuclei seen intermixed with numerous osteoclast-like giant cells [Figure 2]b and c and reported as giant cell lesion possibly chondroblastoma. Surgical decompression was done. Sections showed a neoplasm composed of cells having eosinophilic cytoplasm and vesicular grooved nuclei admixed with many osteoclastic giant cells [Figure 2]d. Cystic spaces filled with blood, hemosiderin laden macrophages, stellate cells in chondromyxoidstroma were also seen. Neoplasm was seen infiltrating the adjacent brain tissue. Tumor cells were positive for discovered on gastrointestinal stromal tumor 1 (DOG1) by immunohistochemistry [Figure 2]d. Thus, diagnosis of chondroblastoma of the temporal bone with secondary aneurysmal bone cyst and infiltrating the adjacent brain parenchyma was given. Patient while on follow-up developed three recurrences and is now on radiotherapy.
Figure 2: (a) Computed tomography scan of the skull showing destructive lytic lesion involving the squamo-petromastoid region of right temporal bone. (b) Cellular smears showing oval to spindly cells admixed with several osteoclastic giant cells (Pap, ×100). (c) Cells with nuclear grooves (Pap, ×1000). (d) Neoplastic cells with nuclear grooves (H and E, ×1000). Inset showing discovered on gastrointestinal stromal tumor 1 positive chondroblasts (IHC, ×400)

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  Discussion Top

The term chondroblastoma of bone was introduced by Jaffe and Lichtenstein to provide a clear distinction from giant cell tumor of bone. [4] Chondroblastoms in the skull and temporal bones are a rare event. There are case reports of chondroblastoma involving the mandibular condyle. [5] They tend to occur in older patients, to have unusual histologic features and higher rates of local recurrence. [2] Location of the lesion in our second patient was in the temporomandibular region and was associated with aneurysmal bone cyst formation and had three recurrences. Closest differential diagnosis in the first case includes giant cell tumor and chondroblastoma like osteosarcoma, and in the second case includes Langerhans cell histiocytosis and giant cell tumor.

Chondroblastoma-like osteosarcoma is an extremely rare entity which may or may not be epiphyseal. [6] This type of osteosarcoma is specifically distinguished from chondroblastoma by its osteoid or bone formation, atypical mitotic activity, and infiltration of adjacent intertrabecular spaces. Thus, aspiration biopsy of chondroblastoma can precede but should not replace close scrutiny of the subsequent surgical curettage specimen, especially when clinical and/or radiologic features are atypical.

Osteoclast-like giant cells are universally present in cases of chondroblastoma of bone. But they may be numerous in a variety of benign and malignant lesions including chondroblastoma, giant cell tumor, osteosarcoma and metaphyseal fibrous defect, etc. [7] Apart from classical clinical and radiologic correlations, the diagnostic features of giant cell tumor are the background oval to spindled uniform cells. [7]

One of the more difficult entities to distinguish form chondroblastoma of bone is Langerhans cell histiocytosis. Cytologically, chondroblasts with nuclei displaying prominent longitudinal grooves and inconspicuous nucleoli are similar to those seen in Langerhans cell histiocytosis. [8] Accompanying inflammatory cells mainly eosinophils in cases of Langerhans cell histiocytosis are absent in this lesion. Langerhans cell histiocytosis is also not associated with matrix production. Radiologically, when Langerhans cell histiocytosis involves the long bones of the extremities, diaphyseal involvement is more common. [9]

Chondroblastomas associated with aneurysmal bone cyst component may cause further difficulties in diagnosis as the diagnosis may be missed on fine-needle aspiration biopsies due to sampling error. [3] DOG1 is a useful marker to support the diagnosis of chondroblastoma by immunohistochemistry. Nasts of DOG1 positive chondroblasts are present in the cellular areas of chondroblastoma which are not detected in chondromyxoid fibroma or giant cell tumor of bone. [9] There are case reports of chondroid metaplasia in pigmented villonodular synovitis mimicking chondroblastoma. Histopathology features are similar to chondroblastoma except for the presence of the villous pattern. The histiocyte-like cells of pigmented villonodular synovitis are positive for CD68 and negative for S100 protein by immunohistochemistry. [10]

  Conclusion Top

Fine-needle aspiration biopsy can be used as a reliable tool in the diagnosis of chondroblastoma in conjunction with radiology and clinical features.

  References Top

Kilpatrick SE, Romeo S. Chondroblastoma. In: Fletcher CD, Bridge JA, Hogendoorn PC, Mertens F, editors. WHO Classification of Tumours of Soft Tissue and Bone. 4 th ed. Lyon: IARC; 2013. p. 262-3.  Back to cited text no. 1
Bertoni F, Unni KK, Beabout JW, Harner SG, Dahlin DC. Chondroblastoma of the skull and facial bones. Am J Clin Pathol 1987;88:1-9.  Back to cited text no. 2
Kilpatrick SE, Pike EJ, Geisinger KR, Ward WG. Chondroblastoma of bone: Use of fine-needle aspiration biopsy and potential diagnostic pitfalls. Diagn Cytopathol 1997;16:65-71.  Back to cited text no. 3
Jaffe HL, Lichtenstein L. Benign chondroblastoma of bone: A reinterpretation of the so-called calcifying or chondromatous giant cell tumor. Am J Pathol 1942;18:969-91.  Back to cited text no. 4
Kondoh T, Hamada Y, Kamei K, Seto K. Chondroblastoma of the mandibular condyle: Report of a case. J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2002;60:198-203.  Back to cited text no. 5
Klein MJ, Siegal GP. Osteosarcoma: Anatomic and histologic variants. Am J Clin Pathol 2006;125:555-81.  Back to cited text no. 6
Sneige N, Ayala AG, Carrasco CH, Murray J, Raymond AK. Giant cell tumor of bone. A cytologic study of 24 cases. Diagn Cytopathol 1985;1:111-7.  Back to cited text no. 7
Kilpatrick SE, Wenger DE, Gilchrist GS, Shives TC, Wollan PC, Unni KK. Langerhans′ cell histiocytosis (histiocytosis X) of bone. A clinicopathologic analysis of 263 pediatric and adult cases. Cancer 1995;76:2471-84.  Back to cited text no. 8
Akpalo H, Lange C, Zustin J. Discovered on gastrointestinal stromal tumour 1 (DOG1): A useful immunohistochemical marker for diagnosing chondroblastoma. Histopathology 2012;60:1099-106.  Back to cited text no. 9
Oda Y, Izumi T, Harimaya K, Segawa Y, Ishihara S, Komune S, et al. Pigmented villonodular synovitis with chondroid metaplasia, resembling chondroblastoma of the bone: A report of three cases. Mod Pathol 2007;20:545-51.  Back to cited text no. 10


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]


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