by Ashley Flaman MD and Bibianna Purgina MD FRCPC
January 23, 2023
A chondroma is a non-cancerous tumour made up of cells normally found in cartilage called chondrocytes. They usually affect young and middle-aged adults. A closely related tumour that occurs inside the bone is called an enchondroma.
Yes. All chondromas are benign (non-cancerous) tumours.
Chondromas can develop anywhere in the body although they are usually found in the hands or feet. Pathologists use the terms extraskeletal, soft tissue, or soft parts to say that the tumour started from tissue outside of a bone. This tissue is often a tendon that attaches muscle to bone.
In many cases, chondromas do not cause symptoms and are often found when imaging (such as an X-ray or CT scan) is performed for another reason. When they do cause symptoms, pain or enlargement of the affected area is most common.
At this time, doctors do not know what causes a chondroma to develop.
These tumours are typically small and range in size from 1 cm to 3 cm.
The diagnosis can be made after a small tissue sample is removed in a procedure called a biopsy or when the entire tumour is removed in a procedure called a resection. Before making the diagnosis of chondroma, your pathologist may review your X-ray or other imaging results to confirm the non-cancerous appearance of the tumour.
Under the microscope, a chondroma is made up of chondrocytes and a matrix that looks very similar to normal cartilage. At the edge of the tumour, there is a clear border between the tumour and the surrounding normal tissue which is typical for a non-cancerous tumour involving cartilage.