What is the prevalence of giant cell tumor of the tendon sheath?

Updated: Feb 08, 2021
  • Author: James R Verheyden, MD; Chief Editor: Harris Gellman, MD  more...
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Giant cell tumors of the tendon sheath are the second most common tumors in the hand; simple ganglion cysts are the most common. Giant cell tumors of the tendon sheath most commonly occur in patients aged 30-50 years, with a peak incidence in those aged 40-50 years. Rarely are these tumors found in patients younger than 10 years or older than 60 years. The female-to-male ratio is 3:2.

Giant cell tumors of the tendon sheath are associated with degenerative joint disease, especially in the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint. Jones et al [17] noted degenerative joint disease in the joint from which a tumor arose or in the joint nearest to the mass in 46 of 91 cases in which radiographs were reviewed.

An occasional association with rheumatoid arthritis has been reported [18] ; however, to the authors' knowledge, no pathogenetic relation between rheumatoid arthritis and giant cell tumor of the tendon sheath has been demonstrated, and their simultaneous occurrence may be coincidental. Antecedent trauma occurs in a variable number of these patients, but its association with these tumors is also probably coincidental.

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