Joint tumors
Synovial giant cell tumor

Topic Completed: 1 July 2013

Minor changes: 30 September 2019

Copyright: 2002-2019,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Joint tumors synovial giant cell tumor "loattrfree full text"[sb]

Vijay Shankar, M.D.
Page views in 2019: 2,385
Page views in 2020 to date: 716
Cite this page: Shankar V. Synovial giant cell tumor. website. Accessed May 24th, 2020.
Definition / general
  • Benign neoplasm characterized by proliferating histiocytes containing lipid and hemosiderin intermingled with multinuclear giant cells
  • Synovial type giant cell tumor, pigmented villonodular synovitis
  • Usually adults over 30 years old
  • Frequently tendon sheaths in hand, rarely axial skeleton (thoracic vertebrae, lumbar or cervical spine)
Clinical features
  • Mechanical derangement of joint; with knee joint, meniscal symptoms and locking are often present
  • May have joint effusion without previous trauma
  • Vertebral involvement presents with pain localized to spinal region or radicular pain
Case reports
  • Complete surgical resection
Gross description
  • 1 - 6 cm, circumscribed, solid or diffuse
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Polyhedral stromal cells with numerous multinucleated giant cells
  • Stroma can be hyalinized
  • Siderophages, xanthoma cells, lymphocytes and some spindled fibroblast-like cells
  • Rarely classic villiform architecture of pigmented villonodular synovitis is noted
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on other servers:

Histiocyte-like tumor cells,
lymphocytes, hemosiderin laden
macrophages and osteoclast-like
giant cells

Positive stains
Differential diagnosis
  • Other primary bone lesions such as aneurysmal bone cyst, osteoblastoma and osteoclastoma should be considered in differential diagnosis of lesion involving posterior vertebral elements
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