Giant Cell Tumor of the Bone

What is Giant Cell Tumor of the Bone

Giant Cell Tumor is a rare condition whose symptoms include the presence of unusually large benign cancer cells with multiple nuclei in the affected bones. The disease is more common in Asia and particularly in China where it accounts for a much higher percentage of bone diseases than in the US and Europe. Giant cell tumor of the bone is also more likely to affect people approaching middle age and is somewhat more common in women.

Symptoms of giant-cell tumor of the bone

  • include pain in the affected area
  • restricted ability to move the bone due to the closeness of the tumor to the joint
  • external bumps may be seen if the disease has progressed for a while – in certain cases giant-cell tumor of the bone remains undetected until the patient experiences a fracture at the affected site. In this case the disease will become apparent due to the fact that normal healing does not occur, as the tumors prevent recovery.


Giant cell tumor of the bone may be viewed with x-ray imaging, radiology, MRI and CT scans.

However, precise diagnosis is usually only achieved via biopsy, in which case the physician will be searching for the signature multiple nuclei of the tumor.


In rare cases, giant cell tumor of the bone may become malignant, in which case they tend to result in lung cancer.

There have not been many modern options developed in the treatment of giant cell tumor of the bone, and doctors continue to favor surgery as the foremost option. In some cases patients may be deemed unacceptable candidates for surgery, such as those that have experienced complicated fractures. Giant cell tumor are often treated, in this case, by radiation.

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