From the archives of AFIP. Imaging of giant cell tumor and giant cell reparative granuloma of bone: radiologic-pathologic correlation

Radiographics. 2001 Sep-Oct;21(5):1283-309. doi: 10.1148/radiographics.21.5.g01se251283.


The radiologic features of giant cell tumor (GCT) and giant cell reparative granuloma (GCRG) of bone often strongly suggest the diagnosis and reflect their pathologic appearance. At radiography, GCT often demonstrates a metaepiphyseal location with extension to subchondral bone. GCRG has a similar appearance but most commonly affects the mandible, maxilla, hands, or feet. Computed tomography and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging are helpful in staging lesions, particularly in delineating soft-tissue extension. Cystic (secondary aneurysmal bone cyst) components are reported in 14% of GCTs. However, biopsy must be directed at the solid regions, which harbor diagnostic tissue. These solid components demonstrate low to intermediate signal intensity at T2-weighted MR imaging, a feature that can be helpful in diagnosis. Multiple GCTs, although rare, do occur and may be associated with Paget disease. Malignant GCT accounts for 5%-10% of all GCTs and is usually secondary to previous irradiation of benign GCT. Treatment of GCT usually consists of surgical resection. Recurrence is seen in 2%-25% of cases, and imaging is vital for early detection. Recognition of the spectrum of radiologic appearances of GCT and GCRG is important in allowing prospective diagnosis, guiding therapy, and facilitating early detection of recurrence.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Bone Diseases / pathology*
  • Bone Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Bone Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Bone and Bones / diagnostic imaging
  • Bone and Bones / pathology
  • Female
  • Giant Cell Tumor of Bone / diagnosis*
  • Giant Cell Tumor of Bone / pathology*
  • Granuloma, Giant Cell / diagnosis*
  • Granuloma, Giant Cell / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed