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Giant cell tumour of bone (GCTB) is a primary bone tumour that contains numerous very large, hyper-nucleated osteoclastic giant cells. Osteoclasts form from CD14+ monocytes and macrophages in the presence of receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa B ligand (RANKL) and macrophage-colony stimulating factor (M-CSF). GCTB contains numerous growth factors, some of which have been reported to influence osteoclastogenesis and resorption. We investigated whether these growth factors are capable of substituting for M-CSF to support osteoclast formation from cultured human monocytes and whether they influence osteoclast cytomorphology and resorption. Vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A), VEGF-D, FLT3 ligand (FL), placental growth factor (PlGF) and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) supported RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis in the absence of M-CSF, resulting in the formation of numerous TRAP+ multinucleated cells capable of lacunar resorption. Monocytes cultured in the presence of M-CSF, HGF, VEGF-A and RANKL together resulted in the formation of very large, hyper-nucleated (GCTB-like) osteoclasts that were hyper-resorptive. M-CSF and M-CSF substitute growth factors were identified immunohistochemically in GCTB tissue sections and these factors stimulated the resorption of osteoclasts derived from a subset of GCTBs. Our findings indicate that there are growth factors that are capable of substituting for M-CSF to induce human osteoclast formation and that these factors are present in GCTB where they influence osteoclast cytomorphology and have a role in osteoclast formation and resorption activity.

Original publication




Journal article


Lab invest

Publication Date





1398 - 1406


Acid Phosphatase, Biomarkers, Tumor, Bone Neoplasms, Bone Resorption, Giant Cell Tumor of Bone, Giant Cells, Growth Substances, Hepatocyte Growth Factor, Humans, Isoenzymes, Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor, Membrane Proteins, Monocytes, Osteoclasts, Placenta Growth Factor, Pregnancy Proteins, RANK Ligand, Tartrate-Resistant Acid Phosphatase, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor D