Individualizing management of aggressive fibromatoses

Matthew A. Spear, L. Candace Jennings, Henry J. Mankin, Ira J. Spiro, Dempsy S. Springfield, Mark C. Gebhardt, Andrew E. Rosenberg, James T. Efird, Herman D. Suit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

233 Scopus citations


Purpose: To examine prognostic indicators in aggressive fibromatoses that may be used to optimize case-specific management strategy. Methods and Materials: One hundred and seven fibromatoses presenting between 1971 and 1992 were analyzed. The following treatment modalities were utilized: (a) surgery alone for 51 tumors; (b) radiation alone for 15 tumors; and (c) radiation and surgery (combined modality) for 41 tumors. Outcome analysis was based on 5-year actuarial local control rates. Results: Control rates among surgery, radiation therapy, and combined modality groups were 69%, 93%, and 72%. Multivariate analysis identified age < 18 years, recurrent disease, positive surgical margins, and treatment with surgery alone as predictors for failure. Patients treated with surgery alone had control rates of 50% (3 of 6) for gross residual, 56% for microscopically positive margins, and 77% for negative margins. Radiation and surgery resulted in rates of 59% for gross residual, 78% for microscopically positive margins, and 100% (6 of 6) for negative margins. For recurrent vs. primary tumors, control was achieved in 48% vs. 77%, 90% vs. 100% (5 of 5), and 67% vs. 79% in the Surgery, Radiation, and Combined modality Groups, respectively. Patients presenting with multiple disease sites tended to have aggressive disease. A radiation dose-control relation to > 60 Gy was seen in patients with unresected or gross residual disease. Of the patients, 23 with disease involving the plantar region had a control rate of 62%, with significantly worse outcomes in children. Conclusions: These results are consistent with those found in the relevent literature. They support primary resection with negative margins when feasible. Radiation is a highly effective alternative in situations where surgery would result in major functional or cosmetic defects. When negative surgical margins are not achieved in recurrent tumors, radiation is recommended. Perioperative radiation should be considered in other high-risk groups (recurrent disease, positive margins, and plantar tumors in young patients). Doses of 60-65 Gy for gross disease and 50-60 Gy for microscopic residual are recommended. Observation may be considered for primary tumors with disease remaining in situ when they are located such that progression would not cause significant morbidity. Although plantar lesions in children may represent a group at high risk for recurrence or aggressive behavior, the greater potential for radiation-induced morbidity in this group must also temper its use. Given the inconsistent nature and treatment response of this tumor, it is fundamental that treatment recommendations should be made based on the risk:benefit analysis for the individual patient, dependent on tumor characteristics and location, as well as patient characteristics and preferences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)637-645
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Chemotherapy
  • Desmoid tumor
  • Fibromatoses
  • Fibromatosis
  • Prognostic indicators
  • Radiation
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiation


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