Soft tissue
Fibrohistiocytic tumors
Malignant fibrous histiocytoma of soft tissue - giant cell type

Topic Completed: 1 August 2012

Revised: 22 March 2019

Copyright: 2002-2018,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Malignant fibrous histiocytoma of soft tissue - giant cell type

Vijay Shankar, M.D.
Page views in 2018: 5,617
Page views in 2019 to date: 3,466
Cite this page: Shankar V. Malignant fibrous histiocytoma of soft tissue - giant cell type. website. Accessed August 24th, 2019.
Definition / general
  • Diagnosis of exclusion - an undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma with prominent osteoclast-like giant cells
  • Also called malignant giant cell tumor of soft parts, malignant osteoclastoma, giant cell sarcoma
  • 3 - 15% of malignant fibrous histiocytomas
  • Number of cases is declining as specific sarcoma types are identified
  • Rare in children
Clinical features
  • Extremities and trunk
  • Osteoclast-like cells have functional features of osteoclasts (J Pathol 1989;159:53)
Case reports
Gross description
  • Hemorrhagic and necrotic
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Resembles pleomorphic malignant fibrous histiocytoma, with addition of evenly dispersed osteoclast-like giant cells with 20 - 100 uniform nuclei that are small and round / oval, accompanied by smaller stromal cells with similar nuclei
  • 2 - 3 MF / 10 HPF
  • May have angiolymphatic invasion
  • Rarely small foci of neoplastic bone or cartilage (some designate these tumors as osteosarcoma or chondrosarcoma)
  • No xanthoma cells or siderophages, no necrosis
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on PathOut servers:

Osteoclast-like giant cells with uniform nuclei in a pleomorphic MFH

Tumor cells may form neoplastic bone and osteoid

Images hosted on other servers:

Similar lesion in prostate

Cytology description
  • Hypercellular smear with cohesive, branching clusters of spindle cells with ovoid, focally hyperchromatic nuclei and inconspicuous nucleoli
  • Also interspersed osteoclast-like giant cells, some associated with clusters of spindle cells
  • Hemorrhagic background with cellular debris and occasional spindle cells and lymphocytes (Acta Cytol 2003;47:673)
Cytology images

Images hosted on other servers:

Multinucleated osteoclastic-type giant cells

Positive stains
Differential diagnosis
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