Role of Imaging in Management of Desmoid-type Fibromatosis: A Primer for Radiologists

Radiographics. 2016 May-Jun;36(3):767-82. doi: 10.1148/rg.2016150153.


Desmoid-type fibromatosis (DF) is a locally aggressive fibroblastic neoplasm that has variable clinical and biologic behaviors ranging from indolent tumors that can undergo spontaneous regression to aggressive tumors with a tendency toward local invasion and recurrence. The management of DF has evolved considerably in the last decade from aggressive first-line surgery and radiation therapy to systemic treatment (chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and targeted therapy) and symptomatic local control (surgery and radiation therapy). Imaging plays an important role in each of these treatment settings. In surgical candidates, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging are the modalities of choice for assessing resectability and surgical planning. For evaluating recurrence, MR imaging is the modality of choice for extra-abdominal recurrence, whereas CT is the preferred modality for intra-abdominal recurrence. Signal intensity changes at MR imaging can be used to monitor the biologic behavior of certain DFs chosen for expectant management. Response to systemic treatment with anti-inflammatory agents, hormonal therapy (eg, tamoxifen), cytotoxic chemotherapy (eg, doxorubicin, vinblastine, methotrexate), and targeted therapy (eg, sorafenib), as well as to radiation therapy, can be assessed at CT by monitoring size and attenuation changes or at MR imaging by monitoring size, T2 signal intensity, and degree of enhancement. Several patterns of response can be seen at imaging. Imaging also helps in detecting complications associated with systemic therapy and radiation therapy. (©)RSNA, 2016.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diagnostic Imaging*
  • Fibromatosis, Aggressive / diagnostic imaging*
  • Fibromatosis, Aggressive / pathology
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local