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Studies were carried out on 3 giant cell tumours of bone (GCTB) to characterise further the cells forming the distinctive mononuclear and multinucleated components. Samples of tumours were grown as explants in vitro and implanted subcutaneously in athymic mice. Cells were characterised in terms of their cell morphology and cytochemical, antigenic and functional phenotype. In culture, giant cells formed a non-proliferative, relatively homogeneous population of cells which expressed features characteristic of the osteoclast phenotype. The mononuclear cell component was heterogeneous and included macrophage-like cells, which persisted for a short time in culture, and fibroblast-like cells which proliferated. In subcutaneous implants, the fibroblast-like cells formed a tissue which included areas of bone formation associated with regions of alkaline phosphatase activity. These observations are consistent with earlier suggestions that the neoplastic component in GCTB consists of a mononuclear stromal cell which elicits a macrophage/osteoclast response.

Original publication




Journal article


Bone miner

Publication Date





37 - 48


Adult, Animals, Antigens, CD, Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic, Bone Neoplasms, Bone Resorption, Calcitonin, Cell Nucleus, Fibroblasts, Giant Cell Tumors, HLA-DR Antigens, Histocompatibility Antigens, Humans, Immunoenzyme Techniques, Immunohistochemistry, Immunophenotyping, Leukocyte Common Antigens, Macrophages, Mice, Mice, Nude, Middle Aged, Neoplasm Transplantation, Osteoclasts, Phenotype, Vimentin