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Giant cell tumor of tendon sheath is a polyclonal cellular proliferation

G S Vogrincic, J X O'Connell, C B Gilks
Human Pathology 1997, 28 (7): 815-9
Giant cell tumor of tendon sheath (GCTTS) is a common soft tissue tumor. Immunophenotypical evidence suggests it is of synovial cell origin. There is controversy regarding the underlying nature of this lesion, specifically whether it is a neoplastic or nonneoplastic (ie, reactive or hyperplastic) process. Karyotypic abnormalities have been identified in GCTTS and interpreted as evidence of neoplasia, although the finding of similar karyotypic abnormalities in unequivocally nonneoplastic proliferations raises questions about using such findings to define a neoplasm. In an attempt to resolve this uncertainty, a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based assay for methylation of the X-linked human androgen receptor gene (HUMARA) was used to assess whether GCTTS is a clonal or polyclonal proliferation. DNA was isolated from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue blocks from eight cases of digital GCTTS in female subjects; two cases of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) were used as clonal controls. Seven of eight cases of GCTTS were informative, and each showed a polyclonal proliferation, whereas both cases of HCC were clonal. Our results indicate that GCTTS is a nonneoplastic proliferation, if one accepts that a population of cells forming a tumorous mass must show clonality to be classified as a neoplasm. Our results emphasize that simple karyotypic abnormalities do not define a neoplasm. It remains to be determined whether GCTTS is a reactive or hyperplastic process.

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