Giant cell tumor of bone: A basic science perspective
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Comprehending the pathogenesis of giant cell tumor of bone (GCT) is of critical importance for developing novel targeted treatments for this locally-aggressive primary bone tumor. GCT is characterized by the presence of large multinucleated osteoclast-like giant cells distributed amongst mononuclear spindle-like stromal cells and other monocytes. The giant cells are principally responsible for the extensive bone resorption by the tumor. However, the spindle-like stromal cells chiefly direct the pathology of the tumor by recruiting monocytes and promoting their fusion into giant cells. The stromal cells also enhance the resorptive ability of the giant cells. This review encompasses many of the attributes of GCT, including the process of giant cell formation and the mechanisms of bone resorption. The significance of the receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB ligand (RANKL) in the development of GCT and the importance of proteases, including numerous matrix metalloproteinases, are highlighted. The mesenchymal lineage of the stromal cells and the origin of the hematopoietic monocytes are also discussed. Several aspects of GCT that require further understanding, including the etiology of the tumor, the mechanisms of metastases, and the development of an appropriate animal model, are also considered. By exploring the current status of GCT research, this review accentuates the significant progress made in understanding the biology of the tumor, and discusses important areas for future investigation.
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