Soft tissue
So called fibrohistiocytic
Giant cell tumor of soft tissue

Topic Completed: 1 August 2012

Minor changes: 30 November 2020

Copyright: 2002-2021,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Giant cell tumor of soft tissue

Vijay Shankar, M.D.
Page views in 2020: 11,600
Page views in 2021 to date: 5,290
Cite this page: Shankar V. Giant cell tumor of soft tissue. website. Accessed May 7th, 2021.
Definition / general
Clinical features
  • Rare, usually age 40+ years, rare in children
  • Usually superficial soft tissue of extremities (70%); rarely breast, mediastinum, groin, surgical scars
  • Presents as painless growing mass
Case reports
  • Complete excision with negative margins
  • Recurs in 12% (associated with incomplete excision)
  • Rare metastases and death
Clinical images

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54 year old man

Large, smooth, firm, erythematous nodule on thigh

Gross description
  • Up to 10 cm, usually dermis or subcutis, 30% are below superficial fascia
  • Well circumscribed, nodular, fleshy, red-brown-gray, gritty at periphery due to calcification
Gross images

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Mediastinal mass

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Multinodular with fibrous tissue containing siderophages separating nodules
  • Nodules contain round / oval mononuclear cells and multinucleated osteoclast-like giant cells with similar nuclei
  • Mononuclear cells are epitheloid or spindled, with eosinophilic cytoplasm and central nuclei
  • Stroma is vascularized; up to 30 mitotic figures / 10 HPF
  • Often metaplastic bone, blood lakes, vascular invasion
  • Occasionally fascicular pattern with focal storiform arrangement of spindle cells
  • No / rare atypia, pleomorphism or necrosis
Microscopic (histologic) images

AFIP images

Resembles giant cell tumor of bone, with osteoclast-like giant cells but at most mild pleomorphism

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Chondroid pattern and osteoid pattern

Mediastinal mass

Osteoclast-like giant cells

Cytology description
  • Numerous osteoclast-like giant cells and mononuclear cells with bland and vesicular nuclei
  • Occasional / rare fragment of branching vasculature, mitotic figures (Acta Cytol 2003;47:1103)
Positive stains
Molecular / cytogenetics description
Differential diagnosis
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