Desmoid tumors are fibrous, slow-growing, nonmalignant tumors with a low potential for metastasis. These lesions show a high propensity for infiltrative growth with local invasion.
The authors undertook a retrospective study of 15 desmoid tumors in 11 women and four men (ranging in age from 32 to 67 years; median 48 years) treated at their institution. This study included further resection for recurrent tumors in nine of 15 patients (60%).
There were 13 patients (86%) with brachial plexus lesions, one patient (7%) with a lumbar plexus lesion, and one (7%) with a peroneal nerve lesion. There was a female predominance in the study group of 2.75:1. Four patients (27%) reported improvement in pain status, six (40%) reported no change from their preoperative pain levels, and five (33%) reported worsened pain symptoms. There was tumor recurrence in two patients (13%) leading to further surgical intervention.
This case series included many recurrent desmoid tumors of the brachial plexus. Most of these lesions were relatively large tumors, predominantly involved with the plexal elements adding to the challenge of the resection. Currently, function-sparing excision is considered the optimal treatment for desmoid tumors arising in extraabdominal sites. Adjunctive radiation or brachytherapy is reserved for a patient with further recurrence in whom resection would be disfiguring or in whom the disease is more refractory.