This site is targeted at medical and radiology professionals, contains user contributed content, and material that may be confusing to a lay audience. Use of this site implies acceptance of our Terms of Use.

Desmoid tumour

Desmoid tumour is a benign, non-inflammatory fibroblastic tumour (see WHO 2002 classification of soft tissue tumours) with a tendency to local invasion and recurrence but without metastasis.


Desmoid tumours are found in all age groups but are most frequently encountered between 20 and 40 years of age. They are seen more in women (2:1). They are rare lesions with an estimated incidence of 3 or 4 new cases per million population per year.

Their exact etiology remains uncertain, although they are frequently associated with previous trauma or surgical incision.

Clinical presentation

Desmoid tumours present as masses, and as such presentation depends on location.



Frequent locations in the abdomen are the abdominal wall, the root of the mesentery and the retroperitoneum.

Radiographic features


Desmoid tumours typically appear as homogeneously anechoic or hypoechoic masses. As such they should not be confused with cystic lesions.


Most desmoid tumors are well circumscribed masses, although in some cases they may appear more aggressive with ill-defined margins.

In terms of density most are relatively homogeneously or focally hyperattenuating when compared to soft tissue on the non-contrast scan.

Most desmoids will demonstrate enhancement following administration of intravenous contrast.


MRI, as is the case with other soft tissue tumours, is more sensitive to local tumour extension. Their appearance is accounted for by their dense cellularity. Typical signal characteristics include:

  • T1: low signal intensity
  • T2: low signal intensity

Treatment and prognosis

  • surgical resection (recurrence rate high)
  • NSAIDs and anti-oestrogens can be used to reduce the rate of recurrence

See also

Updating… Please wait.


Error Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

Alert_accept Thank you for updating your details.