Enchondromas (EC) and atypical cartilaginous tumours (ACT) of the knee joint represent benign/intermediate chondromatous neoplasms of the bone that are most commonly discovered incidentally. Based on small to intermediate-sized cohorts, the prevalence of cartilaginous tumours of the knee as visible in MRI is estimated at 0.2–2.9%. This study aimed at verifying/challenging these numbers via retrospective examination of a larger, uniform patient cohort.
Between 01.01.2007 and 01.03.2020, 44,762 patients had received an MRI of the knee for any indication at a radiologic centre. Of these, 697 patients presented with MRI reports positive for cartilaginous lesions. In a three-step workflow, 46 patients were excluded by a trained co-author, a radiologist and an orthopaedic oncologist, as wrongly being diagnosed for a cartilage tumour.
Of 44,762 patients, 651 presented with at least one EC/ACT indicating a prevalence of 1.45% for benign/intermediate cartilaginous tumours of the knee joint (EC: 1.4%; ACTs: 0.05%). As 21 patients showed 2 chondromatous lesions, altogether 672 tumours (650 ECs [96.7%] and 22 ACTs [3.3%]) could be analysed in terms of tumour characteristics: With a mean size of 1.6 ± 1.1 cm, most lesions were located in the distal femur (72.9%), in the metaphysis of the respective bone (58.9%) and centrally in the medullary canal (57.4%).