Bektas M, Bell T, Khan S, Tumminello B, Fernandez MM, Heyes C, Oton AB. Desmoid tumors: a comprehensive review. Adv Ther. 2023 Sep;40(9):3697-722. doi: 10.1007/s12325-023-02592-0.

Desmoid tumors (DT) are rare, locally aggressive, fibroblastic soft-tissue tumors that are characterized by infiltrative growth and can affect organs and adjacent structures, resulting in substantial clinical burden impacting patients’ health-related quality of life. Searches of PubMed, Embase, Cochrane, and key conferences were conducted in November 2021 and updated periodically through March 2023 to identify articles describing the burden of DT. Of 651 publications identified, 96 relevant publications were retained. Diagnosis of DT is challenging because of its morphologic heterogeneity and variable clinical presentation. Patients visit multiple healthcare providers, often facing delays in correct diagnosis. The low incidence of DT (estimated 3 to 5 cases per million person-years) limits disease awareness. Patients with DT experience a high symptom burden: up to 63% of patients experience chronic pain, which leads to sleep disturbance (73% of cases), irritability (46% of cases), and anxiety/depression (15% of cases). Frequently mentioned symptoms are pain, limited function and mobility, fatigue, muscle weakness, and swelling around the tumor. Overall, quality of life in patients with DT is lower than in healthy controls. There is no treatment approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for DT; however, treatment guidelines reference available options such as active surveillance, surgery, systemic therapy, and locoregional therapy. Choice of active treatment may depend on tumor location, symptoms, and risk of morbidity. The substantial burden of illness of DT is related to difficulties in timely and accurate diagnosis, high symptom burden (pain and functional limitations), and decreased quality of life. There is a high unmet need for treatments that specifically target DT and improve quality of life.

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