Giant Cell Tumor of the Larynx

Thu Le, MD; Kevin Young, MD; Bernard Chow, MD


Appl Radiol. 2012;41:29a-29d. 

In This Article


GCTL are extremely rare tumors, usually presenting in middle-aged male patients with obstructive symptoms. The tumors arise from the cartilages (thyroid most frequently) of the larynx in areas of endochondral ossification, with a typical histology of numerous giant cells containing many nuclei that are histologically indistinguishable from the nuclei of the stromal spindle cells surrounding the giant cells. These tumors can present a challenge both in radiologic diagnosis due to their rarity, and in pathologic diagnosis due to similarities with other more common reactive, benign, and malignant neoplastic conditions. The feature of multiple multinucleated giant cells dispersed regularly within the spindle-cell stroma allows histologic distinction from many other giant cell-containing processes. The nonmetastasizing and encapsulated features help narrowing the differential radiographically.

Differentiation of GCTL from other cytologically malignant giant cell-rich tumors is critical in terms of treatment and prognostic implication. Complete but conservative surgical excision is the treatment of choice, with attempts to preserve the quality of the voice and speech if at all possible. Adjuvant therapy is unnecessary for these tumors.