by Bibianna Purgina, MD FRCPC
March 4, 2022
Giant cell tumour of bone is a common type of bone tumour. It can start in almost any bone in the body. Although most giant cell tumours of bone are non-cancerous, they are aggressive at their site and can lead to a fracture or break of the bone. Some tumours may grow beyond the bone and involve the surrounding tissues such as the muscle. Very rarely, a giant cell tumour of bone may be cancerous. A giant cell tumour of bone usually involves the ends of a bone. This type of tumour typically affects young adults.
Giant cell tumours of bone are typically diagnosed after a small sample of tissue is removed in a procedure called a biopsy.
When examined under the microscope, the tumour is made up of two kinds of cells:
Your pathologist will look for both mononuclear cells and osteoclast-like giant cells in the tissue sample before making the diagnosis of giant cell tumour of bone.
After the pathologist makes a diagnosis of giant cell of tumour of bone, the patient is often treated with surgery but may receive a medication called Denosumab prior to the surgery. The tumour is then removed completely as a resection specimen and sent to pathology for examination and to confirm the diagnosis.