Various chemicals are commonly used as adjuvant treatment to surgery for giant-cell tumour (GCT) of bone. The comparative effect of these solutions on the cells of GCT is not known. In this study we evaluated the cytotoxic effect of sterile water, 95% ethanol, 5% phenol, 3% hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)) and 50% zinc chloride (ZnCI(2)) on GCT monolayer tumour cultures which were established from six patients. The DNA content, the metabolic activity and the viability of the cultured samples of tumour cells were assessed at various times up to 120 hours after their exposure to these solutions. Equal cytotoxicity to the GCT monolayer culture was observed for 95% ethanol, 5% phenol, 3% H(2)O(2) and 50% ZnCI(2). The treated samples showed significant reductions in DNA content and metabolic activity 24 hours after treatment and this was sustained for up to 120 hours. The samples treated with sterile water showed an initial decline in DNA content and viability 24 hours after treatment, but the surviving cells were viable and had proliferated. No multinucleated cell formation was seen in these cultures. These results suggest that the use of chemical adjuvants other than water could help improve local control in the treatment of GCT of bone.

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