Desmoid Tumor

Also known as: Aggressive fibromatosis.

What is desmoid tumor?

A desmoid tumor in one that frequently arises in muscles (often in the abdominal wall and shoulder, legs and arms also may be affected), however the tumor can also come from tissues, tendons, and ligaments.

It's a relatively uncommon tumor which tends to occur in children (boys and girls equally), and young adults.

They are locally fast (aggressively) growing, often invading adjacent muscle and organs and frequently present in families who have polyps (finger-like growths) in the large bowel (colon).

What causes desmoid tumor?

The exact cause of desmoid tumors is unknown, though there may be a genetic or hormonal component to the disease. Sometimes they grow after injury or surgery.

What are the signs and symptoms of desmoid tumor?

Desmoid tumors often cause no symptoms. On limbs they feel like firm, smooth, mobile tumors. As they grow, they can lead to pain due to compressed muscles and nerves.

In the abdomen, they can lead to obstruction of the bowel, and problems from infiltration of organs, nerves or blood vessels.

What are desmoid tumor care options?

If the tumor can be observed, followed, and is non-symptomatic some physicians may elect  to observe it over time. Others believe surgery to remove the tumor is the treatment of choice.

Other times, particularly if local recurrences occur radiation therapy or medications such as chemotherapy can be used to shrink the tumors and make them less disruptive.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: June 17, 2022 02:21 PM

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