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Cancer. 2004 Mar 1;100(5):1008-16.

Low recurrence rate after surgery for dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans: a multidisciplinary approach from a single institution.

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Department of Surgery, University of Michigan Health System, University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-0932, USA.



Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP) is a rare sarcoma with a propensity for local recurrence. Treatments with wide excision, Mohs surgery, and other approaches have been reported with widely variable local control rates. The objective of this study was to review the experience with a multidisciplinary approach employing wide excision and Mohs surgery selectively in the treatment of patients with DFSP at a single academic institution over the past 10 years.


The records of 62 patients with 63 DFSP tumors who underwent wide excision, Mohs surgery, or a multidisciplinary combination approach from January 1991 to December 2000 were reviewed retrospectively. Primary endpoints included the ability to extirpate the DFSP lesion completely, the tumor recurrence rate, and the need for skin grafts or local tissue flaps. Additional objectives included defining surgical practice patterns at the authors' institution.


Sixty-three DFSP lesions were removed from 62 patients. At a median follow-up of 4.4 years, no local or distant recurrences were detected in any patient. Forty-three lesions were treated with wide local excision, 11 lesions were treated with Mohs surgery, and 9 lesions were treated with a combination approach. Ninety-five percent of lesions that were approached initially with wide local excision were cleared histologically. Two patients (5%) received postoperative radiation for positive margins after undergoing maximal excision. Eighty-five percent of lesions that were approached initially with Mohs surgery were cleared histologically. The remaining 15% of lesions subsequently were cleared surgically with a wide excision. DFSP lesions that were approached initially with Mohs surgery tended to be smaller. Patients with head and neck lesions most often underwent Mohs surgery or were treated with a multidisciplinary combination approach (87%).


Wide local excision with careful pathologic analysis of margins was found to have a very low recurrence rate and was used for the majority of patients with DFSP lesions at the authors' institution. Wide local excision, Mohs surgery, and a multidisciplinary combination approach, selected based on both tumor and patient factors, were capable of achieving very high local control rates in the treatment of DFSP. The evolution of a multidisciplinary approach has provided a level of expertise that no single individual could achieve for the treatment of the full spectrum of DFSP lesions at the authors' institution.

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