Giant Cell Tumor of the Skull: Review of the Literature

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Giant cell tumors (GCTs) are rare in the skull. The present report describes a case with a primary GCT located in the temporal bone and reviews the relevant literature. We also propose a treatment strategy for GCT of the skull.

Clinical Presentation

A 41-year-old man presented with headache and auditory disturbance. Radiologic images showed a lytic expansive extradural lesion originating primarily from the right temporal bone and expanding into the middle cranial fossa and the infratemporal fossa. A biopsy specimen of the lesion was obtained from the external auditory meatus. Total removal was performed with temporal craniectomy, mandibular condylar process removal, tympanoplasty, and mastoidectomy.


The rate of recurrence of GCTs is related to complete resection and location of the GCT rather than to the degree of invasiveness. Some of the mononuclear cells and stromal cells in GCT express receptor activator of nuclear factor κ-β ligand (RANKL). Because inhibition of RANKL and bisphosphonate therapy might eliminate giant cells, this approach might be useful for recurrent or unresectable GCTs of the skull.


Preoperative diagnosis by biopsy is important in determining the therapeutic strategy of GCTs. Complete resection is important to reduce the recurrence rate of GCTs in the skull.

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