Granular cell tumor of the extremity: magnetic resonance imaging characteristics with pathologic correlation

Skeletal Radiol. 2005 Oct;34(10):625-31. doi: 10.1007/s00256-005-0925-8. Epub 2005 Jul 8.


Objective: The purpose of this study is to delineate the magnetic resonance (MR) appearance of a granular cell tumor (GrCT) of the extremity and to correlate the imaging appearance with the microscopic findings.

Design and patients: A retrospective review of five patients with a histopathologic diagnosis of GrCT and pre-operative MR imaging of the neoplasm was done. The images were reviewed by two musculoskeletal radiologists in a consensus fashion. Lesion location, size, shape, margination, and signal intensity characteristics were assessed. MR findings were correlated with histopathological examination.

Results: The benign subtype of GrCT is usually isointense or brighter than muscle on T1-weighted sequences, round or oval in shape, superficial in location, and 4 cm or less in size. On T2-weighted sequences, benign lesions may demonstrate a high peripheral signal, as well as a central signal intensity that is isointense to muscle or suppressed fat. A significant stromal component in the tumor and, hypothetically, a ribbon-like arrangement of tumor cells may influence the signal intensity demonstrated on the T1 and T2-weighted sequences. The malignant subtype may demonstrate signal intensity characteristics and invasion of adjacent structures often seen with other aggressive neoplasms; sizes larger than 4 cm and association with major nerve trunks can be seen.

Conclusion: Benign GrCT has imaging characteristics which may distinguish this tumor from other soft tissue neoplasms, as well as the malignant type of this tumor.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Foot Diseases / pathology*
  • Granular Cell Tumor / pathology*
  • Hand / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Shoulder / pathology*
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Thigh / pathology*