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Fibrohistiocytic Tumours

Pathology of Giant Cell Fibroblastoma   

 Dr Sampurna Roy MD         

Dermatopathology Quiz Case 161

Diagnosis: Giant Cell Fibroblastoma





Giant cell fibroblastoma (GCF) is a rare soft tissue tumour of childhood which was first described by Schmookler and Enzinger.

This rare mesenchymal neoplasm is classified as a fibrohistiocytic tumour of intermediate malignancy owing to its propensity for local recurrence, but metastases have never been reported. Giant cell fibroblastoma. A distinctive, recurrent tumor of childhood.

It has been considered by some authors as a juvenile variant of dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans. Giant cell fibroblastoma. A juvenile form of dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans. 

Age and sex:  It appears in children in the first decade of life. Most cases occur before the age of 5 years. Rare cases have been reported in adults. There is a male predominance.

Site: This slowly enlarging painless nodule is located in the superficial soft tissue, and has been described in the back, thigh and chest.

Macroscopic features: Uncapsulated gray-white lesion, usually less than 5cm in diameter. It is partly gelatinous with myxoid foci and there is no necrosis or hemorrhage.

Microscopic features:  There are 2 distinct patterns:

1) The solid or cellular foci composed of spindled and multinucleated cells present in a fibrocollagenous or myxoid background and 

2) the angiectoid or sinusoidal foci composed of pseudovascular spaces lined by neoplastic cells.

The lesion infiltrates the deep dermis and subcutis and encircles adnexal structures.

Immunohistochemistry:  The tumour stained diffusely for vimentin and CD34. The cells are negative for S100 protein, desmin, muscle specific actin and factor VIII.

Differential Diagnosis: DFSP; dermatofibroma; vascular tumours ; neurofibroma, meningothelial hamartomas, lymphangiomas.

Relationship of Giant cell fibroblastoma with dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP):  DFSP and Giant cell fibroblastoma demonstrate the same immunohistochemical findings and share the same cytogenetic abnormalities.  A translocation (17; 22) (q22; q13) has been described in both entities. Cases of GCF with DFSP-like areas and the recurrence of GCF as frank DFSP and vice versa suggests that the two lesions may be related. Histogenetic relations between giant cell fibroblastoma and dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans. CD34 staining showing the spectrum and a simulator.

GCF should not be overdiagnosed as a soft tissue sarcoma. Example: Myxoid malignant fibrous histiocytoma, myxoid liposarcomas, malignant nerve sheath tumors, and other mesenchymal sarcomas. These tumours usually occur in adults.

Clues for the diagnosis of giant cell fibroblastoma:  Superficial location;  Lack of intricate vasculature ;  Multinucleated cells along the pseudovascular spaces. 

Treatment of choice is local excision with tumour free margins. Local recurrence is probably related to incomplete resection of the tumour.


Further reading:

Giant cell fibroblastoma: a clinicopathologic analysis of seven cases.

Giant cell fibroblastoma in a child misdiagnosed as a dermatofibroma.

Fine-Needle Aspiration Biopsy Features in a Case of Giant Cell Fibroblastoma of the Chest Wall.

Giant cell fibroblastoma associated with dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans: a case report.

Giant cell fibroblastoma: a report of three cases with histologic and immuno histochemical evidence of a relationship to dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans. 

Giant cell fibroblastoma.New histological observations.

Cytogenetic and immunohistochemical evidence that giant cell fibroblastoma is related to dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans.

Giant cell fibroblastoma. A case report and immunohistochemical comparison with ten cases of dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans.

Giant cell fibroblastoma: an immunohistochemical study.

Giant cell fibroblastoma of soft tissue: a clinicopathological and immunohistochemical study. 

Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans, giant cell fibroblastoma, and hybrid lesions in children: clinicopathologic comparative analysis of 28 cases with molecular data a study from the French Federation of Cancer Centers Sarcoma Group. Am J Surg Pathol. 2003 Jan;27(1):27-39.






Dr Sampurna Roy  MD

Consultant  Histopathologist (Kolkata - India)






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