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About Childhood Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma (MFH)

  • A malignant fibrous histiocytoma is a type of soft tissue sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that can start in either bone or, most often, in the soft tissues that connect, support, or surround organs and other body parts. Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center provides comprehensive medical and surgical care for children and adolescents with childhood malignant fibrous histiocytoma in our Bone and Soft Tissue Tumors Program.

    In children, malignant fibrous histiocytoma:

    • Is a painless mass that most often turns up in the extremities, although it can occur anywhere in the body.
    • Most commonly spreads (metastasizes) to the lungs but can also invade the lymph nodes and bone.
    • The cause is unknown but has been linked to genetics, radiation treatment, and inherited diseases.
    • It’s among the most common types of soft tissue tumors found in adults but is rarely found in children.
    • Treatment may include surgery along with radiation and/or chemotherapy.
    • The tumor can come back.

    Symptoms of Childhood Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma

    The only symptom of childhood malignant fibrous histiocytoma is often a painless lump in the area where the cancer is growing. As the tumor increases in size, it might cause pain by pressing on a nerve or muscle, or even cause difficulty with movement if it affects the joints. If it spreads to other parts of the body, for example, the lungs, difficulty breathing may result.

    How We Treat Childhood Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma

    Surgery to remove the tumor is the primary treatment for childhood malignant fibrous histiocytoma, sometimes followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy to destroy any cancer cells that may have spread beyond the tumor, and to prevent a recurrence.

    Please refer to childhood soft tissue sarcomas for additional information about diagnosis, treatment, and care that your child will receive from our experienced clinicians.