State of the Art and New Concepts in Giant Cell Tumor of Bone: Imaging Features and Tumor Characteristics

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Giant cell tumor of bone (GCTB) is classified as an intermediate malignant tumor due to its locally aggressive behavior, burdened by high local recurrence rate. GCTB accounts for about 4-5% of all primary bone tumors and typically arises in the metaphysis and epiphyses of the long tubular bones. Mutation of gene H3F3A is at the basis of GCTB etiopathogenesis, and its immunohistochemical expression is a valuable method for practical diagnosis, even if new biomarkers have been identified for early diagnosis and for potential tumor recurrence prediction. In the era of computer-aided diagnosis, imaging plays a key role in the assessment of GCTB for surgical planning, patients' prognosis prediction and post treatment evaluation. Cystic changes, penetrating irregular margins and adjacent soft tissue invasion on preoperative Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) have been associated with a higher rate of local recurrence. Distance from the tumor edge to the articular surface and thickness of unaffected cortical bone around the tumor should be evaluated on Computed Tomography (CT) as related to local recurrence. Main features associated with local recurrence after curettage are bone resorption around the graft or cement, soft tissue mass formation and expansile destruction of bone. A denosumab positive response is represented by a peripherical well-defined osteosclerosis around the lesion and intralesional ossification. Radiomics has proved to offer a valuable contribution in aiding GCTB pre-operative diagnosis through clinical-radiomics models based on CT scans and multiparametric MR imaging, possibly guiding the choice of a patient-tailored treatment. Moreover, radiomics models based on texture analysis demonstrated to be a promising alternative solution for the assessment of GCTB response to denosumab both on conventional radiography and CT since the quantitative variation of some radiomics features after therapy has been correlated with tumor response, suggesting they might facilitate disease monitoring during post-denosumab surveillance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - Dec 15 2021


  • giant cell tumor of bone
  • imaging
  • prognosis
  • radiology
  • radiomics
  • recurrence
  • surgery


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