Learn More About Tenosynovial Giant Cell Tumors

When people hear the word tumor, they almost always think of cancer. However, there is more to tumors than just sad cancer diagnosis. While it’s true that tumors can be cancerous, tumors don’t have to be.

Tumors are an abnormal growth. Typically they start in the tissue of a body. Tumors show up as a swollen area. 

Tumors like tenosynovial giant cell tumors are very rare. These tumors can also be referred to as TSGCTs. They occur on near the joints on the synovium. This is the membrane that’s covering the inside of the joints. TSGCTs can also occur on the bursae and tendon sheaths. Bursae are important to the body. They cushion the muscles, tendons and bones. The good news about tenosynovial tumors is that they are benign. That doesn’t mean they can’t cause problems. People who develop TSGCTs can suffer from great pain as the tumors grow and damage the tissue and structure of joints around them. Keep reading to learn more about these rare forms of tumors. 

Causes of Tenosynovial Giant Cell Tumors

Research continues to try to determine exactly why tenosynovial giant cell tumors occur. It appears that they are caused by mistakes in the chromosomes within them. The chromosomes are rearranged in the area of the tumor. Because of this translocation, they will overproduce a specific protein. What is yet to be determined is why the chromosomes translocate in the first place. 

Certain people are more likely to get a TSGCT. Mostly, people between the ages of 25 to 40 can be affected. However, there’s also the chance for people of any age to get one of these tumors. It’s more common for women to get one than men, but not by a significant amount. 

Symptoms of Tenosynovial Giant Cell Tumors

Like most diseases, symptoms can vary to some degree. While TSGCTs are rare, there are subsections within them based on which joints or areas are affected. Typically, larger joints like the knee, ankle and shoulder are the most likely areas to be affected. Sometimes smaller joints like those within the spine or in the jaw can have issues as well. Some symptoms can include: 

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • STiffness
  • Tenderness
  • Warm Feeling Skin
  • Joint “Locking”
  • Popping Sounds

The symptoms will occur in the joints around the area that the tumors inhabit. Symptoms tend to start slow and get better over time. Sometimes, symptoms will get so bad that the joint degenerates because of damage to the cartilage and/or bone. 

Treatment of Tenosynovial Giant Cell Tumors

There’s one main treatment for people suffering from tenosynovial giant cell tumors. The main option is to perform a surgical procedure on the affected area. While surgery to remove the tumors have shown great results, sometimes there are cases where it reoccurs. Some surgeries will remove part of the area, though more serious cases can result in the entire lining being removed. 

There are some rare occasions when radiation therapy may be used in addition to therapy. This is most likely when only part of the tumor can be removed due to the location. Beam radiation was the original method, however, treatment has moved away from this as more effective radiation treatments have become available. It can help reduce the potential for tumors returning. 

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