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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Pigmented villonodular synovitis

Other Names for this Disease
  • Diffuse pigmented villonodular synovitis
  • Localized pigmented villonodular synovitis
  • Tenosynovial giant cell tumors
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What causes pigmented villonodular synovitis?

The exact cause of pigmented villonodular synovitis is unknown.  Some doctors believe that it is similar to arthritis, arising from swelling (inflammation) of the joint tissue.  Others believe it develops like a tumor, caused by cells growing and multiplying more quickly than usual.  [1]  A recent study suggests that pigmented villonodular synovitis could be caused by specific genetic changes in the cells lining the joint, which supports the theory that this condition is a type of tumor.[2]
Last updated: 11/28/2011

  1. Mendenhall WM, Mendenhall CM, Reith JD, Scarborough MT, Gibbs CP, Mendenhall NP. Pigmented Villonodular Synovitis. American Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2006; 29:548-550. Accessed 11/22/2011.
  2. Ravi V, Wang WL, Lewis VO. Treatment of tenosynovial giant cell tumor and pigmented villonodular synovitis. Current Opinion in Oncology. 2011; 23:361-366. Accessed 11/22/2011.