Giant cell tumor of bone: A unique paradigm of stromal–hematopoietic cellular interactions

Dror Robinson, Thomas A. Einhorn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Giant cell tumor of bone is a progressive, potentially malignant process which destroys skeletal tissue by virtue of its osteoclast complement. As a biological entity it provides a unique natrual model of bone resorption by osteoclasts whose recruitment and development is controlled by a neoplastic population of fibroblast‐like cells. Understanding of the etiopathogenesis of this tumor could provide new insights into the mechanisms underlying osteoblast–osteoclast interactions in normal and diseased bone. Recent studies have shown that the stromal cell component in giant cell tumors is the only proliferating subpopulation of cells, and the giant cells themselves are nonproliferative and reactive. These stromal cells express several genes associated with the osteoblastic phenotype, synthesize, to a limited degree, certain matrix proteins associated with bone, and express several factors which are presumably involved in the recruitment of osteoclasts. In culture, giant cell tumor–associated stromal cells promote the fusion of monocytes and the proliferation of osteoblasts either by the secretion of factors or cell–cell contact. Hence, giant cell tumor of bone is a self‐contained biosystem in which cells of both the stromal and hematopoietic lineages interact in a fashion similar to that observed in normal skeletal remodeling. The neoplastic nature of the stromal component, however, drives the hematopoietic precursors to undergo fusion, produces aggressive bone resorption, and results in extensive skeletal destruction. Examination of the various components of this system could lead to new directions for investigations aimed at a better understanding of osteoblast–osteoclast interactions. © 1994 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-303
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Cellular Biochemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1994
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin DiseasesR01AR040701


    • giant cells
    • hematopoiesis
    • osteoblasts
    • osteoclasts
    • stromal cells


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