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This is a retrospective review of 49 cases of giant cell tumor (GCT) of the mobile spine treated surgically.Our goal was to determine which factors influenced local recurrence.GCT is a benign, locally aggressive tumor that rarely occurs in the spine. The management of local recurrence can be challenging.We performed a retrospective analysis of GCTs of the mobile spine managed between 1970 and 2005. Median follow-up was 145 months with a minimum of 2 years or until death. We used the Kaplan-Meier method to test whether Enneking stage, surgery type, and surgical margin had statistically significant impact on local recurrence. The log rank test was used for comparison, and a P value of less than 0.05 was deemed significant.Of the 49 patients, 11 (22%) local recurrences occurred. The latest recurrence occurred at 60 months. Age less than 25 years was associated with a worse relapse-free survival (P = 0.03). En bloc resection was associated with better local control with Enneking stage III tumors (P = 0.01); however, intralesional resection provided adequate control of Enneking stage II tumors. There were 6 (12%) cases of metastasis, and 2 patients died from the progression of their disease. One patient died from the complications of the surgery.En bloc resection should be considered for Enneking stage III GCTs of the mobile spine. The choice of en bloc resection must be balanced with the inherent risks of the procedure. Intralesional resection of Enneking stage II tumors provides adequate local control. Patients should be followed for at least 5 years because local relapse can occur late.