Desmoid Tumors

What are Desmoid Tumors?

Desmoid tumors are fibrous neoplasms that appear as firm growths of tissue on the body and they are aggressive. They have a tendency to be reoccurring and they are fairly rare.

These benign growths develop in the connective tissue and can spread from limbs and abdomen, where they’re primarily located, to nearby organs and cause a series of complications that might require surgery.

What are the Symptoms of Desmoid Tumors?

A desmoid tumor looks like a mass or lump. It grows quickly and can be quite painful. Depending on the location of the growth, it can restrict motion and cause pain in joints.

Pain is commonly felt in the area around the tumor.

How are Desmoid Tumors Treated?

Surgery is the most typical form of treatment for desmoid tumors as it is also the most successful treatment. Not everyone is a prime candidate for surgery though and in some cases, the desmoid tumor comes back. Additionally, if the tumor is located in an area which cannot be accessed without damaging surrounding tissues and organs, the treatment is usually restricted to the symptoms or other approaches.

For those who refuse surgery or are not able to have surgery there are in fact other options.

Radiation therapy can be used for the main treatment or it can be used if the tumor is recurring. Antiestrogens and prostaglandin inhibitors may be prescribed. They have a response rate of about 40-50%. If desmoid tumors are extra-abdominal and recurring and surgery has not been successful, chemotherapy may be suggested. Another treatment that might be considered is magnetic resonance-guided high focused ultrasound. It is consider safe and can be very effective for some desmoid tumors.

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Last Reviewed:
October 05, 2016
Last Updated:
September 06, 2017