Clinical Research

Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®

, Volume 471, Issue 8, pp 2675-2683

First online:

Percutaneous Doxycycline Treatment of Aneurysmal Bone Cysts With Low Recurrence Rate: A Preliminary Report

  • William E. ShielsIIAffiliated withDepartment of Radiology, The Ohio State University Medical Center and Nationwide Children’s Hospital Email author 
  • , Joel L. MayersonAffiliated withDepartment of Orthopedic Surgery, The Ohio State University Medical Center and Nationwide Children’s Hospital

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Aneurysmal bone cyst (ABC) has a recurrence rate of between 12% and 71% without en bloc resection or amputation. There is no percutaneous ABC treatment drug regimen demonstrating consistent evidence of bone healing with recurrence of < 12%. Doxycyline has properties that may make it appropriate for percutaneous treatment.


We therefore asked: (1) Is there reduction in ABC lytic cyst volume with injectable doxycycline? (2) Is it associated with thickening of involved bony cortex? (3) Is the recurrence rate after percutaneous treatment < 12%?


We retrospectively reviewed 20 patients who underwent percutaneous treatment of ABCs with doxycycline from 2006 to 2010. The mean age was 10 years (range, 3–18 years). There were 21 treatment locations: humerus (six), spine (five), clavicle (two), fibula (one), femur (two), ulna (two), tibia (two), and scapula (one). Twenty patients completed treatment involving 118 treatment sessions (two to 14 sessions per patient). Treatment response was evaluated radiographically by measuring the lytic component and thickness of involved cortex. Recurrence was indicated by new areas of lytic destruction after completion of treatment. The minimum followup was 24 months (mean, 38 months).


Twenty of 20 patients demonstrated reduction in lytic destruction and bony healing. All patients demonstrated cortical thickening. One patient demonstrated recurrent minimal lytic destruction after 20 months of observation.


In this series, patients undergoing percutaneous doxycycline treatment of ABCs demonstrated a healing response and a recurrence rate of 5% at more than 24 months.

Level of Evidence

Level IV, therapeutic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.