Optimal Treatment for Tenosynovial Giant Cell Tumor of the Hand

J Nippon Med Sch. 2020 Sep 9;87(4):184-190. doi: 10.1272/jnms.JNMS.2020_87-408. Epub 2020 Apr 30.


This review examines the following aspects of tenosynovial giant cell tumors (TSGCTs): the use of multiple names, the complex relationship between tumor growth pattern and location, the high rate of postoperative recurrence, local invasiveness, use of nonsurgical therapy with molecularly targeted drugs, and best current treatments. This tumor has been referred to by various names, but is now most frequently referred to as TSGCT. TSGCT is classified as localized and diffuse, in accordance with its growth characteristics. Most TSGCTs of the fingers are localized. TSGCT is likely a neoplastic process arising from synovial lining cells, in which tumor cells express the colony stimulating factor 1 (CSF1) gene. The postoperative recurrence rate of TSGCT is approximately 15%. The intrinsic characteristics of recurrence are not clear, and complete resection of the lesion is still the treatment mainstay. Moreover, TSGCT commonly grows out of a pseudocapsule. Therefore, to perform complete resection of TSGCT, surgery must be performed cautiously after appropriate preparation, by using anesthesia, a tourniquet, surgical loupe, and surgical microscopy. After accurate preoperative diagnosis, meticulous planning by surgeons is necessary. The lesion should be resected along with approximately 1-mm of healthy tissue at the adhesion site. In addition, because satellite lesions might be present near the tumor, careful dissection and observation of the color of surrounding tissue are important. International clinical trials of CSF1 receptor inhibitors for TSGCT treatment are ongoing.

Keywords: finger; giant cell tumor of the tendon sheath; hand; recurrence; tenosynovial giant cell tumor.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Gene Expression
  • Giant Cell Tumor of Tendon Sheath / diagnostic imaging
  • Giant Cell Tumor of Tendon Sheath / genetics
  • Giant Cell Tumor of Tendon Sheath / pathology
  • Giant Cell Tumor of Tendon Sheath / surgery*
  • Hand / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Imatinib Mesylate / administration & dosage
  • Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Orthopedic Procedures / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • CSF1 protein, human
  • Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor
  • Imatinib Mesylate