Giant Cell Tumor

Also known as: giant cell tumor of the bone, GCTOB

What is a giant cell tumor?

A giant cell tumor is a non-cancerous tumor (benign) that grows at the ends of the body’s long bones. Most often, it appears on the ends of bones such as the thigh bone or shin bone where they join with the knee, but can also occur at the wrist end or shoulder end of the arm bone and other sites. Though they are benign they can cause problems to surrounding bones and tissues.

What causes giant cell tumor?

Most of the time the cause is unknown, however in some rare instances, an overactive parathyroid gland may be associated with a development of a giant cell tumor.

What are the symptoms of giant cell tumor?

Pain where the tumor grows is the most frequent symptom (which gets worse with movement), though sometimes patients have no pain and the only sign is the swelling of the bone. If the bone is weakened by the tumor a fracture (break) may result.

What are giant cell tumor care options?

If no treatment is given the tumor will continue to grow. Treatments include total removal with surgery, a type of surgery known as curettage in which the tumor is scraped from the bone (a bone graft can help to stabilize the bone after this procedure), radiation, medication or a procedure known as tumor embolization where the blood supply to the tumor is blocked off.


Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: January 22, 2021 08:49 AM

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Tumor Embolization

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