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Lung India Official publication of Indian Chest Society  
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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 244-245  

A massive intrathoracic mass lesion due to giant cell tumor of pleura

1 Department of Medicine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Histopathology, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, India

Date of Web Publication25-Feb-2016

Correspondence Address:
Atul Kakar
Department of Medicine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-2113.177459

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How to cite this article:
Garg G, Gogia A, Kakar A, Gupta P. A massive intrathoracic mass lesion due to giant cell tumor of pleura. Lung India 2016;33:244-5

How to cite this URL:
Garg G, Gogia A, Kakar A, Gupta P. A massive intrathoracic mass lesion due to giant cell tumor of pleura. Lung India [serial online] 2016 [cited 2020 Feb 24];33:244-5. Available from: http://www.lungindia.com/text.asp?2016/33/2/244/177459


Giant cell tumor represents 5% of all primary bone tumors. It typically occurs in the age group of 20-40 years. The most common location for giant cell tumor to arise is distal femur. It is rare to have giant cell tumor arising in thorax (1% of all giant cell tumor cases) and if does it is usually from rib. We report a case of giant cell tumor of pleura who presented with minimal symptoms.

A 38-year-old male laborer from Bihar, was admitted with complaints of mild pain and chest discomfort in left side of chest for last 7 months. The pain had become continuous for last 6 days. However, there was no history of shortness of breath, palpitations, sweating episodes, loss of appetite or weight loss. On examination, patient was thin built, and had normal vital signs. There was no lymphadenopathy and jugular venous pressure was normal. Systemic examination was normal.

Blood investigations (complete blood counts, liver and renal function tests) were normal. Chest radiograph showed large homogenous density in left mid zone [Figure 1]. PET-CT revealed large heterogeneous mass abutting the left aorta and inferior pulmonary vein and there was no erosion of ribs. The mass was FDG avid [Figure 2].
Figure 1: Chest X-ray revealing large mass in left hemithorax

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Figure 2: FDG avid mass involving the lingular and lower lobe of left lung with areas of internal necrosis within, encasing the lingular and lower lobe bronchus and closely abutting the aorta medially and costal pleura and chest wall posteriorly and laterally with loss of fat planes, most likely primary mitotic tumor with mildly FDG avid nodular lesions in the right lung and the left lower lobe

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Excision of the mass lesion was done under general anesthesia. It was possible to remove the mass in toto. There was no local metastasis or neurovascular bundle invasion. The mass was adherent to pleura and lung was normal. The gross size of mass was 20 × 16 × 4 cm.

Histological section showed a benign neoplasm composing of two cell populations. One cell population was composed of round to oval cell with plump vescicular nucleoli and conspicuous nucleoli at places and the second cell population formed multinucleate osteoclastic giant cells. The nuclei of which had similar morphology as mononuclear cells. Focal areas of hemorrhage, cystic changes and necrosis were seen. There was no significant mitotic activity. Immuno-histochemistry of the tumor revealed positive expression for smooth muscle actin in mononuclear tumor cells. CD68 was positive in multinucleate cells as well as mononuclear cells [Figure 3]. At 1-year follow-up, patient was doing fine and was asymptomatic and his repeat chest radiograph was normal.
Figure 3: CD68 is positive in multinucleate cells as well as mononuclear cells-

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Giant cell tumor of soft tissue is a rare tumor. It was first described in 1972 by Salm and Sissons.[1] Folpe et al. proposed terming giant cell tumor of soft tissue as “giant cell tumors of low malignant potential” and viewed them as soft tissue analog of giant cell tumor of bone because of their histological and immunohistochemical similarity.[2] There is no sex predilection for such tumors. The tumor has low malignant potential and commonly affects the lower limbs, trunk and upper limbs. The origin of giant cell tumor from pleura and chest wall is extremely rare. The first case of giant cell-associated malignant mesothelioma was reported by Itami et al. in 2010.[3] However, in our case there was no underlying pleural pathology. To the best of our knowledge this is the first case of giant cell tumor of pleura to be reported.

Histologically, all tumors consist of a mixture of mononuclear cells showing vesicular, round to oval nuclei and osteoclast like, multinucleated giant cells distributed uniformly throughout the tumors. There can be foci of stromal hemorrhage and areas of necrosis which can be seen and are consistent feature of this tumor.[4] These neoplasms have low malignant potential (nuclear atypia, pleomorphism and mitosis are rare) but can be locally aggressive.[5] In a case report by Kim et al., he recommended to keep primary giant cell tumor of soft tissue as differential diagnosis of bland-looking giant cell-rich lesions.[6] Distant metastasis is extremely rare in this tumor.

Surgical excision of tumor is necessary to determine the nature (benign or malignant) of tumor since chest radiograph or computed tomography (CT) cannot differentiate between benign and malignant tumor.[7] There is no role of chemotherapy and radiotherapy in management of tumor. Incomplete surgical excision can lead to recurrence.

Giant cell tumor usually arises from bones of upper and lower limbs. Its origin from pleura/chest wall is extremely rare. However, in contrast to bony origin, pleural-based giant cell requires only debulking and close follow-up.

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There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Mardi K, Sharma J. Primary giant cell tumour of soft parts: Report of a case with fine needle aspiration cytology and histology findings. J Cytol 2007;24:58-9.  Back to cited text no. 1
  Medknow Journal  
Folpe AL, Mooris RJ, Weiss SW. Soft tissue giant cell tumor of low malignant potential: A proposal for the reclassification of malignant cell tumor of soft parts. Mod Pathol 1992;12:894-902.  Back to cited text no. 2
Itami H, Ohbayashi C, Sakai Y, Kajimoto K, Sakuma T. Pleural malignant mesothelioma with osteoclast-like giant cells. Pathol Int 2010;60:217-21.  Back to cited text no. 3
Oliveira AM, Dei Tos AP, Fletcher CD, Nascimento AG. Primary giant cell tumor of soft tissue: A study of 22 cases. Am J Surg Pathol 2000;24:248-56.  Back to cited text no. 4
O'Connell JX, Wehrli BM, Nielsen GP, Rosenberg AE. Giant cell tumors of soft tissue: A clinicopathologic study of 18 benign and malignant tumors. Am J Surg Pathol 2000;24:386-95.  Back to cited text no. 5
Kim NR, Han J. Primary giant cell tumor of soft tissue. Report of a case with fine needle aspiration cytological and histological findings. Acta Cytol 2003;47:1103-6.  Back to cited text no. 6
Pusiol T, Piscioli I, Scialpi M, Hanspeter E. Giant benign solitary fibrous tumor of the pleura (>15 cm): Role of radiological pathological correlations in management. Report of 3 cases and review of the literature. Pathologica 2013;105:77-82.  Back to cited text no. 7


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]


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