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What is a Desmoid Tumor?

  • Desmoid tumor, also called aggressive fibromatosis, is a tumor that develops in the fibrous tissue that forms tendons and ligaments, usually in the arms, legs or midsection, but also sometimes in the head and neck. Locally, a desmoid tumor is very similar to a malignant (cancerous) tumor called fibrosarcoma in that local recurrence is very high.

    Desmoid tumors are considered benign because they do not metastasize (spread) to other parts of the body. However, desmoid tumors can be invasive to surrounding tissues and difficult to control. They can adhere to and intertwine with surrounding structures and organs, and therefore are treated like bone cancers.

    Desmoid tumor treatment at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's

    Children with desmoid tumors are treated through the Bone and Soft Tissue Tumors Program at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. Our specialists — including pediatric oncologists, surgical oncologists and radiation oncologists — offer a level of expertise in bone tumors rarely seen at other pediatric cancer centers. We provide the full set of options that can be used to treat desmoid tumors, and our specialists can help you determine which option is best for your child.

    Learn more about desmoid tumors

    Find in-depth information on desmoid tumors on the Dana-Farber/Boston Children's website, including details on desmoid tumor causes, diagnosis and treatment.