Giant-cell tumor of bone is now recognized as being only one of a group of bone lesions that contain giant cells or osteoclasts. These other lesions include aneurysmal bone cysts, simple bone cysts, benign nonossifying fibromas, and fibrous dysplasia. The lesion most likely to be confused with a giant-cell tumor is the aneurysmal bone cyst. Giant-cell tumors usually occur, however, in the long bones of the extremities in patients over 20 years of age, whereas aneurysmal bone cysts occur in patients under the age of 20 years and are located about as commonly in the vertebrae as they are in the long bones.
Differentiation between these two lesions is important because of the prognostic and therapeutic differences between them. About 50% of giant-cell tumors recur after curettage, whereas aneurysmal bone cysts rarely recur. Sarcomatous change in giant-cell tumors also occurs in a significant number of cases (possibly as high as
Richards WG, Coleman FC, Irving NW. GIANT-CELL TUMOR OF BONE INVOLVING THE FIFTH LUMBAR VERTEBRA. JAMA. 1957;163(9):731–733. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.82970440001008
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