BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Giant-cell tumor of the bone is a neoplasm which rarely affects the spine, and occurs even more infrequently above the sacrum. The symptomatology depends on the tumor site, and may be attributable to a compression mechanism. Spinal cord injury is seldom a complication and tetraplegia is even more infrequent. In this paper, we present an unusual case involving a giant cell tumor. We also review its possible diagnoses and treatments. CLINICAL CASE We present the case of giant-cell tumors in the cervical spine affecting C6 and C7, in a young woman who suffered tetraplegia due to spinal cord compression. After surgery and radiotherapy, the tumor reappeared, requiring a second operation. CONCLUSION Early clinical diagnosis of giant-cell tumors of the spine is difficult because their development tends to go unnoticed. Imaging techniques, especially MRI, help identify them; but their diagnosis still requires histopathologic tests. Resection of the neoplasm is recommended, when possible. Curettage may allow recurrence and radiotherapy may lead to sarcomatous degeneration of the tumor.