The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)

A Case Of A Malign Tumour From La Tène Burial Site Of Münsingen Rain In Switzerland


1Physical Anthropology, Institute of Forensic Medicine, Bern University, Switzerland, 2Pathology, Pathology, Bern University, Switzerland, 3Center of Forensic Imaging, Institute of Forensic Medicine, Bern University, Switzerland, 4Bernisches Historisches Museum, Bern, Switzerland

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The famous La Tène burial site of Münsingen Rain in Switzerland was discovered in 1904. The individuals were dated by horizontal stratigraphy to 420 - 240 BC.

One of the 77 individuals showed an alteration of the bone, so the skull, the left humerus with scapula and the right femur were retained. The aim of this study was to reconsider a differential diagnosis and examine it with different methods.

Sex and age were determined anthropologically. Radiological examinations were performed with plain x-ray imaging and a multislice CT-scanner. For histological analysis, a fragment of the lesion was taken from the back side of the humerus. Pathologic processing with staining after fixation, decalcification, and paraffin embedding was performed. Hard cut sections were also prepared.

The individual is male, the estimated age at death is more than 60 years. There is a malignant bone forming tumour at the left proximal humerus with extraosseus growth and involvement of the adjacent scapula. Radiologic examination showed a large, mainly sclerotic tumour. The 'sunburst' appearance of the periphery is a sign for an aggressive malign periosteal reaction. Histology showed an irregular bone formation consistent with osteoid matrix.

In summary, there are two major differential diagnoses: if the tumour represented a single lesion, it can be considered as a primary malignant bone tumour. Due to the irregular matrix formation resembling osteoid, the most likely diagnosis is an osteoblastic osteosarcoma, followed by chondrosarcoma with osteoblastic features.

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