Desmoplastic (des-moe-PLAS-tik) small round cell tumors (DSRCTs) are cancerous and grow rapidly. Typically found in the abdomen, this rare cancer is a type of soft tissue sarcoma in the Ewing sarcoma family of tumors, and it usually affects young adult males.

  • Experience. Because DSRCTs are rare, not all doctors are experienced in treating them. At Mayo Clinic, you'll find the expertise you need.
  • Expertise and teamwork. Your multispecialty team of experts may include medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, general surgeons and other specialists as needed.
  • Comprehensive cancer center. The Mayo Clinic Cancer Center receives funding from the National Cancer Institute and is designated as a comprehensive cancer center — a recognition for an institution's scientific excellence in research and multispecialty resources that are focused on cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Diagnosis

Mayo Clinic's Molecular Anatomic Pathology Laboratory helps doctors make a timely and accurate diagnosis of desmoplastic small round cell tumors (DSRCTs). These tumors may require specialized tests for diagnosis, including molecular genetic tests.

In addition, specialists may use some of the following tests and imaging. In tests that involve radiation, specialists carefully monitor doses to avoid the risk of radiation overexposure.

  • Ultrasound. During an ultrasound, a technician moves a wand-like device (transducer) over the surface of your abdomen. High-frequency sound waves form images on a screen that can identify desmoplastic tumors.
  • Computerized tomography (CT). CT scans generate cross-sectional images of the body that can show whether cancer has spread to other tissues or organs. All CT scanners at Mayo Clinic use spiral CT technology, and several CT scanners use multidetector row spiral technology, which creates 3-D images.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI technology uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the area affected by the desmoplastic tumor. This highly sensitive technology can identify small abnormalities.
  • Positron emission tomography (PET). To perform a PET scan, doctors inject a radioactive form of sugar (glucose) into your bloodstream. The scan helps show if a tumor has spread, because tumors typically pick up the sugar and appear on the image as "hot spots."
  • Biopsy. In a biopsy, a pathologist removes a small tissue sample and looks under a microscope for cancer cells. Doctors may use a thin, hollow needle to draw cells from your body (fine-needle aspiration). For a small desmoplastic tumor, the doctor may remove the entire mass during the biopsy.

Read more about ultrasound, CT scan, MRI, PET scan and biopsy.

Treatment

Doctors may treat desmoplastic small round cell tumors (DSRCTs) with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a combination of these treatments. In addition, some people with DSRCTs are candidates for a stem cell transplant.

  • Surgery. Surgeons will remove the tumor if possible.
  • Chemotherapy. Doctors may give a combination of cancer-fighting drugs before surgery to shrink the tumor or after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells, or at both times.
  • Radiation. Like chemotherapy, radiation may be used before or after surgery, or when the tumor cannot be safely removed. Depending on the tumor's size, shape and location, specialists may treat it using 3-D conformal radiation therapy, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) or intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT).
  • Stem cell transplant. People with DSRCTs requiring a stem cell transplant (also called bone marrow transplant or blood and marrow stem cell transplant) receive stem cells from their own bodies (autologous stem cell transplant). High-dose chemotherapy is given before the stem cell infusion.

Read more about stem cell transplant.

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At Mayo Clinic in Arizona, the treatment team includes specialists from general surgery, hematology and oncology, radiation oncology, and other areas as needed. If you need to be hospitalized, you will be admitted to Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix.

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For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 507-538-3270 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

At Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, children are treated by specialists in pediatric hematology and oncology, pediatric surgery, and other areas as needed. Children who need inpatient care stay at Mayo Eugenio Litta Children's Hospital. Mayo Clinic is a member of the Children's Oncology Group, a national consortium of cancer centers that establishes effective treatment approaches for pediatric soft tissue sarcomas.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 507-538-3270 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

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The Mayo Clinic Cancer Center receives funding from the National Cancer Institute and is designated as a comprehensive cancer center — a recognition for an institution's scientific excellence in research and multispecialty resources that are focused on cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Publications

See a list of publications by Mayo Clinic doctors on desmoplastic small round cell tumors on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

Jun. 27, 2013