Adamantinoma Symptoms & Causes

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We understand that you may have a lot of questions when your child is diagnosed with an adamantinoma: 

  • What exactly is it?
  • What are potential complications?
  • What are the latest treatments?
  • What are possible side effects from treatment?
  • How will it affect my child long term? 

We’ve provided some answers to those questions here, and when you meet with our experts, we can explain your child’s condition and treatment options fully. 

What is an adamantinoma?
An adamantinoma is a slow growing cancerous bone tumor most often found in the shin bone (tibia) or the jaw bone (mandible). Occasionally, these tumors are found in the forearm, hands or feet. In about 20 percent of cases, adamantinoma cancer cells spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body, usually to the lungs or nearby lymph nodes. 

Is an adamantinoma common?
An adamantinoma is a rare tumor, occurring primarily in boys and young men (ages 10 to 30). It usually occurs after the bones stop growing. 

Is it curable?
An adamantinoma doesn’t respond to some traditional cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation. However, surgery to remove the tumor completely can, in some cases, cure the condition.


What causes an adamantinoma?
Adamantinomas do not have an identifiable cause. If your child has an adamantinoma, he probably has sustained a trauma to the affected bone, but it’s unclear whether trauma is a cause of the tumor, or the tumor makes the bone weak and more likely to be injured.

Signs and symptoms

What are the symptoms of an adamantinoma?
While symptoms of an adamantinoma may from child-to-child, the most common include: 

  • pain (sharp or dull) at the site of the tumor
  • swelling and/or redness at the site of the tumor
  • increased pain with activity or lifting
  • limping
  • decreased movement of the affected limb 

You may have noticed these symptoms over a short period of time or they may have been occurring for six months or more. In most cases of an adamantinoma, an injury brings your child into a medical facility, where an x-ray may show abnormalities in the bone. 

It’s important to keep in mind that the symptoms of an adamantinoma may resemble other medical problems, some of them which are very common and easy to treat, others which could be more serious. 

Your child may experience symptoms differently from those listed above. It is important to be evaluated by a physician to get an accurate diagnosis. Always consult your child's doctor if you have concerns.

Questions to ask your doctor

You and your family are key players in your child’s medical care. It’s important that you share your observations and ideas with your child’s health care provider and that you understand your doctor’s recommendations.
If your child is has been diagnosed with an adamantinoma, you probably have a lot on your mind. So it’s often helpful to write questions down. Some of the questions you may want to ask include: 

  • What does a diagnosis of an adamantinoma mean for my child?
  • How will you manage my child’s symptoms?
  • What kind of surgery will my child have?
  • How long will recovery take?
  • What are the possible short and long-term complications of treatment?
  • Will my child be OK?
  • How likely is it that the adamantinoma will come back?
  • What services are available to help my child and my family cope? 

Boston Children’s is so much more than a hospital—it’s a community of researchers, clinicians, administrators, support staff, innovators, teachers, patients and families, all working together to make the impossible possible. ”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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