Treatments for desmoid tumors include:
May 27, 2014
- Monitoring the growth of the tumor. If your desmoid tumor causes no signs or symptoms, your doctor may recommend monitoring the tumor to see if it grows. You may undergo imaging tests every few months. Some tumors never grow and may never require treatment.
- Surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible. If your desmoid tumor causes signs and symptoms, surgeons work to remove the entire tumor and a small margin of healthy tissue that surrounds it. But sometimes the tumor grows to involve nearby structures and can't be completely removed. In these cases, surgeons remove as much of the tumor as possible.
Radiation therapy. Radiation therapy uses high-powered beams, such as X-rays, to kill tumor cells. Your doctor may recommend radiation therapy if you have an increased risk that your tumor will return after surgery.
Radiation therapy may also be used alone in situations where surgery isn't possible.
- Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy uses chemicals to kill tumor cells. You may receive chemotherapy as a pill that you swallow or through a vein in your arm. Your doctor may recommend chemotherapy if other treatments haven't helped control your desmoid tumor.
Heating or freezing tumor tissue. Ablative therapies use extreme heat (radiofrequency ablation) or cold (cryoablation) to kill tumor cells. In a procedure of this type, a doctor inserts a special probe through the skin and into the tumor.
To ablate tissue during cryoablation, the cryoprobe freezes the area, causing the surrounding tissue to die. During radiofrequency ablation, doctors use electromagnetic energy that heats the tissue to high temperatures and results in cell death.
- Other treatments. Several other treatments have shown promise in people with desmoid tumors, including anti-inflammatory drugs, hormone therapies and targeted therapies.
- Walczak BE, et al. Desmoid: The role of local therapy in an era of systemic options. Current Treatment Options in Oncology. 2013;14:465.
- Niederhuber JE, et al., eds. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 20, 2013.
- Devata S, et al. Desmoid tumors: A comprehensive review of the evolving biology, unpredictable behavior and myriad of management options. Hematology/Oncology Clinics of North America. 2013;27:989.
- Bonvalot S, et al. The treatment of desmoid tumors: A stepwise clinical approach. Annals of Oncology. 2012;23(suppl):x158.