Giant Cell Tumor of Bone Clinical Presentation

Updated: Sep 03, 2019
  • Author: Valerae O Lewis, MD; Chief Editor: Harris Gellman, MD  more...
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History and Physical Examination

Most giant cell tumors (GCTs) of bone are located within the epiphyses of long bones, but they often extend into the metaphysis. In several published series, only 1.2% of GCTs involved the metaphysis or diaphysis without epiphyseal involvement. [37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44]

Approximately 50% of GCTs are located around the knee. The most common locations are the distal femur, the proximal tibia, and the proximal humerus and distal radius (see the image below). Most commonly, GCTs are solitary lesions; fewer than 1% are multicentric. [45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52] Multicentric involvement tends to be more clinically aggressive, and, unlike the solitary lesions, multicentric GCT has a propensity for the small bones of the hands and feet. Patients with multicentric lesions tend to be younger than those with lesions elsewhere. [53]

Approximately 50% of giant cell tumors are located Approximately 50% of giant cell tumors are located around knee. Most common locations are distal femur, proximal tibia, and proximal humerus and distal radius.

Pain is the most common presenting symptom. Swelling and deformity are associated with larger lesions. Soft-tissue extension is common. The incidence of pathologic fracture at presentation is 11-37%. [38, 54, 55]