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Cancer. 1986 Feb 15;57(4):875-84.

Giant cell tumor of the tendon sheath (nodular tenosynovitis). A study of 207 cases to compare the large joint group with the common digit group.


Clinicopathologic, enzyme histochemical, and electron microscopic findings in 207 cases (208 lesions) of giant cell tumor of tendon sheath (GCTTS) are presented. The GCTTS could be divided into two groups according to the anatomic location, the first occurring in the digits (digit group, 182 cases) and the second, in the larger joints (large joint group, 25 cases). In the majority of cases of the digit group, the tumor occurred in one of the fingers (158 cases), whereas in the large joint group, the tumor was common in the ankle (10 cases) and knee joints (8 cases). The lesion was more common in women (67%) than in men (33%). Microscopically, the GCTTS in both groups consisted of a mixture of abundant histiocyte-like, foam, and multinucleated giant cells of the osteoclast type. However, worthy of special mention were the large clefts or wide pseudoglandular spaces lined by synovial cells and that were more striking in the large joint group than in the conventional digit group. The component cells had functional properties of macrophages, as determined in the enzyme histochemical study. Electron microscopically, the tumors consisted essentially of histiocyte-like, fibroblast-like, and intermediate cells, together with myofibroblasts.

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