FAP-related desmoid tumors: A series of 44 patients evaluated in a cancer referral center

Chiara Colombo, Wai Chin Foo, David Whiting, Eric D. Young, Kristelle Lusby, Raphael E. Pollock, Alexander J. Lazar, Dina Lev*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Desmoid tumors (DTs), the commonest extra-intestinal manifestation of familial adenomatosis polyposis (FAP), are monoclonal neoplasms demonstrating fibroblastic - myofibroblastic differentiation; they are locally invasive without metastatic capacity. FAP-associated DT natural history knowledge is limited; we examined patient and tumor characteristics for a FAP-DT cohort and evaluated anti- DT therapy molecular target expression levels (immunohistochemical analyses, FAP-DT tissue microarray; TMA). Forty-four patients were classified as intra-abdominal (IA; n=26), abdominal wall (AW)/extraabdominal (EA; n=12) or concomitant IA/AW (n=6) based on DT primary diagnosis location. Positive family histories were found in 62% of FAP versus 10% of DT patients. Surgery was the mainstay therapy for AW/EW patients, whereas IA DTs received surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, tamoxifen, NSAIDs, and/or imatinib. Eight of 20 completely resected DTs in the IA and AW/EA groups recurred; 12 of 38 patients in these groups (33%) developed secondary lesions elsewhere. Two intestinal mesenteric DT patients died of disease, three from other cancers, 27 are alive with disease and 12 are alive without disease. All evaluable FAP-DT exhibited nuclear ß-catenin, 65% were positive for cyclin D1, and 66% expressed nuclear p53. No ERa expression was observed, but ERß was expressed in 72%. COX2 was expressed in all evaluable FAP-DTs. KIT was rarely found in DTs but both PDGFRs and their ligands were expressed. Comparing biomarker expression (IA vs. EA DTs), only nuclear ER-ß staining was significantly higher in EA lesions (p=0.0070); no other markers were site informative. Enhanced knowledge of FAP-DT molecular underpinnings will facilitate development of novel therapeutic strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)641-649
Number of pages9
JournalHistology and Histopathology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • APC
  • Desmoid tumors
  • Gardner syndrome
  • Targeted therapy
  • ß-catenin


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