Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans-derived fibrosarcoma: clinical history, biological profile and sensitivity to imatinib

Int J Cancer. 2011 Oct 1;129(7):1761-72. doi: 10.1002/ijc.25826. Epub 2011 Mar 8.


Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans (DFSP) carries a translocation resulting in the COL1A1/PDGFB fusion-gene, responsible for platelet derived growth factor beta receptor (PDGFRB) activation. Fibrosarcomatous (FS) transformation in DFSP rarely occur. The fusion-gene and PDGFRB expression/activation pattern and imatinib role in DFSP-derived FS is less defined. We reviewed all consecutive patients operated for localized DFSP at our institution from 1994 to 2009, selecting cases with FS component. We also reviewed patients treated with imatinib for advanced FS-DFSP over the same period. When cryopreserved material was available, biochemical/molecular analyses were performed. Of 275 DFSPs, 13 (4.7%) showed a FS component. Fifteen percent of these patients developed metastases, one to the brain. Four patients with DFSP-derived FS received imatinib, with a Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumor Partial Response. Response was followed by early secondary progression in two. One died for brain metastases. Three patients underwent surgery after imatinib. The fusion-gene was detected in all cases in both the classical and FS component, before and after imatinib. PDGFRB expression/activation was confirmed in all cases. mTOR was switched-off, despite the phosphorylation of its effectors. However, a strong phosphorylation of S6 and 4EBP1 was restricted to the FS component. In conclusion, DFSP-derived FS maintains the fusion-gene, being sensitive to imatinib. However, responses are short-lasting. Secondary resistance to imatinib is not related to PDGFRB.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Benzamides
  • Dermatofibrosarcoma / pathology*
  • Female
  • Fibrosarcoma / drug therapy
  • Fibrosarcoma / genetics
  • Fibrosarcoma / pathology*
  • Fibrosarcoma / secondary
  • Humans
  • Imatinib Mesylate
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Piperazines / therapeutic use*
  • Pyrimidines / therapeutic use*
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / analysis
  • Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor beta / genetics*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Benzamides
  • Piperazines
  • Pyrimidines
  • Imatinib Mesylate
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor beta