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What is adamantinoma?

Adamantinoma is a rare bone cancer. Most of the time, adamantinoma grows in the lower leg. It often starts as a lump in the middle of the shinbone (tibia) or the calf bone (fibula). Adamantinoma can also occur in the jaw bone (mandible) or, sometimes, the forearm, hands, or feet. An adamantinoma lump can be painful, swollen and red, and can cause movement problems.

Adamantinoma is a serious condition. Treatment is important for survival but it is possible to make a full recovery.

How common is adamantinoma?

Adamantinoma accounts for less than 1% of all bone cancers. It is more common in males than in females. Young adults are most frequently affected. Adamantinoma in children is very rare.

How is adamantinoma diagnosed?

Adamantinoma can cause symptoms of pain and swelling, and can sometimes be felt by the doctor during a physical exam. 

Imaging: If you have symptoms of adamantinoma, your doctor will use imaging scans such as X-rays, CT, MRI, and bone scans to look at the size of the tumor, how fast it is growing, and where it is in the body. They will also check for signs that the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

Biopsy: To check if the tumor is adamantinoma, your doctor will perform a biopsy, taking a small sample from the tumor with a needle. An expert, called a pathologist, will study cells from the sample under the microscope to see what kind of tumor it is.

How is adamantinoma treated?

Surgery is the best option for adamantinoma treatment. If the tumor and all cancer cells are removed, there is a good chance of being cured. If some cancer cells are left behind, there is a greater chance of the cancer coming back in the same spot, or a different part of the body. Adamantinomas tend to not respond to other cancer treatments such as chemotherapy.

When possible, the surgeon will take out the tumor and will not touch the healthy parts of the body, but it is sometimes necessary to remove the limb with the adamantinoma tumor. The limb can be rebuilt with surgery to keep function, but the details of this process will be different for each person.

Once the adamantinoma tumor has been taken out by surgery, you will have to keep regular appointments with your doctor in order to catch it early, if it does come back.

Does adamantinoma run in families?

No, adamantinoma does not run in families.

How does adamantinoma form?

Scientists are always working to understand how cancer forms, but it can be hard to prove. Because adamantinoma occurs most frequently in young adults after bones stop growing, this may give scientists some clues. But adamantinoma is so rare, very little is known about what causes it.

What is the prognosis for people with adamantinoma?

The estimate of how a disease will affect you long-term is called prognosis. Every person is different and prognosis will depend on many factors, such as:

  • Where the tumor is in your body
  • If the cancer has spread to other parts of your body
  • How much of the tumor was taken out during surgery

If you want information on your prognosis, it is important to talk to your doctor. NCI has resources to help you understand cancer prognosis.

Doctors estimate survival rates by how groups of people with adamantinoma have done in the past. Because there are so few adamantinoma patients, these rates may not be very accurate. They also can’t consider newer treatments being developed. With this is mind, you have a better chance of being completely cured if all the cancer cells are removed with surgery.