Interferon therapy for giant cell tumor of bone

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Purpose of review

Inhibition of key regulators of angiogenesis has gained momentum as a promising approach for the treatment of vascular tumors. Antitumor activity of interferons has been observed in childhood hemangiomas, hematologic malignancies and giant cell lesions of the mandible. The response to interferon of unresectable and metastatic giant cell tumor of bone in the axial and appendicular skeleton generally has been favorable after long-term therapy, but variable. This review presents the current role of interferon in the treatment of this enigmatic tumor.

Recent findings

Only a few small series of patients treated with interferon for giant cell tumor of bone have been published. The relatively recent development of a pegylated formulation of interferon, designed to prolong its plasma half-life, provides an alternative to the nonpegylated form of interferon that is comparable biologically and more attractive given a weekly dosing schedule. The response to the pegylated formulation to date is favorable, but has not been reported.


Therapeutic inhibition of angiogenesis in its current state requires prolonged treatment and surveillance to observe the delayed response to therapy. This response pattern to interferon should be considered when administering angiogenesis inhibitors as a single agent or in combination therapies.

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