Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumors

Cancers known as desmoplastic small round cell tumors (DSRCT) frequently start in the abdomen. This form of cancer can occasionally spread to other bodily regions.

Rare malignancies called desmoplastic small round cell tumors start as cell growths. The tissue that borders the inside of the abdomen and pelvis is frequently where the growths develop. The term "peritoneum" describes this tissue lining. The cancer cells have a high capacity for rapid organ-to-organ dissemination. The liver, colon, and bladder may be examples of this.

Anybody can develop desmoplastic small round cell tumors, although boys and young men are more likely to do so. Desmoplastic small round cell tumors are often treated using a variety of methods. Radiation treatment, chemotherapy, and surgery are possible options.

Soft tissue sarcomas include desmoplastic tiny round-cell tumors of this sort. The phrase "soft tissue sarcoma" is used to refer to a broad class of tumors that all develop in the tissues that surround, connect, and support other bodily structures.

DSRCT: Causes

The exact etiology of desmoplastic small round cell tumors is unknown.

The development of Genetic mutations in a cell is how cancer starts, according to doctors. The instructions that inform a cell what to do are encoded in its DNA. The modifications instruct the cell to proliferate rapidly. As a result, a tumor—a mass of cancer cells—is produced. Cancerous cells can infiltrate and obliterate healthy bodily tissue. The cancer cells have the potential to separate over time and move to other bodily regions.

DSRCT: Symptoms

Depending on where the disease starts, the symptoms of desmoplastic small round cell tumors might vary. It usually starts in the abdomen.

Desmoplastic small round cell tumors in the abdomen might present with the following signs and symptoms −

  • Abdominal swelling

  • Continent pain

  • Constipation

  • Having trouble urinating

DSRCT: Risk Factors

The major risk factors include −

  • A young adult. Adults in their 20s and 30s are more likely than older individuals to develop desmoid tumors. Among elderly individuals and youngsters, this tumor is uncommon.

  • Colon polyps are frequently caused by a hereditary condition. Adenomatous polyposis (FAP) patients are more likely to develop desmoid tumors. A gene mutation that results in FAP can be handed down from parents to offspring. In the colon, it results in many growths (polyps).

  • Pregnancy. A desmoid tumor can very rarely develop during or right after pregnancy.

  • Injury. Desmoid tumors can occasionally develop in patients who have recently had surgery or an accident.

DSRCT: Diagnosis

At a typical age of 22 years, DSRCT can manifest itself at any age between 5 and 50. Around 85–90% of patients are male overall, although, among those who were diagnosed while they were under 20 years old, the proportion of girls is often somewhat greater. 5 Massive masses are a common presentation in DSRCT in more than 50% of cases, in addition to visceral and parietal seeding of the peritoneum.

Because there are minimal symptoms until the peritoneal surfaces are invaded with a tumor, overwhelming the peritoneum, and impeding the resorption of peritoneal fluid, ascites develop. This results in a substantial tumor burden at diagnosis. The typical presenting symptoms are abdominal distension and pain. Together with discomfort, patients may experience constipation.

These individuals are classified as stage 4 at the time of diagnosis due to the sarcomatosis they exhibit. Just one or two masses are often evident when a patient first presents. Nevertheless, this can happen if the DSCRT is discovered by chance during a different procedure, such as a hernia repair, or a diagnostic radiologic scan for another entity.

Hayes-Jordan and colleagues at the MD Anderson Cancer Institute in Houston, Texas, are now testing a novel staging method in light of the typically diffuse form of the illness upon presentation. Patients in stage 1 of this suggested staging system have an illness that is restricted to one or two locations in the abdomen or one site elsewhere.

Patients in Stage 2 have the peritoneal disease of any extent, Stage 3 has the peritoneal disease and liver metastases, and Stage 4 has peritoneal and liver disease as well as illness beyond the abdominal cavity, such as in the lymph nodes. This staging mechanism is being looked into but has not yet received validation.

The most beneficial first imaging test is computerized axial tomography (CT), which has to be done with both intravenous and gastrointestinal contrast. Hepatic and pelvic lesions can be detected using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Several peritoneal implants are frequently seen on CT or MRI, which sharply raises the possibility of DSRCT. The liver is often the first organ to experience metastases.

The next most frequent sites for metastasis are the lungs, pleura, and mediastinum. There may also be neck and groin lymph node enlargement. To assess distant metastases at the time of staging, positron emission tomography (PET) imaging may be a useful adjuvant.

DSRCT: Treatment

Your condition will determine how you are treated for a desmoplastic small round-cell tumor. The location of your cancer and if it has spread to other body areas are taken into account by your medical staff. The majority of patients with this kind of cancer are given a mix of therapies.


Surgery aims to completely eradicate the malignancy. If cancer has spread to neighboring organs, it might not be possible. If that occurs, your doctor could suggest chemotherapy using powerful medications to initially reduce the malignancy.

Your surgeon may try to remove as much cancer as possible if it is not possible to completely eradicate it. After surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments may be advised to eradicate any cancer cells that could have persisted.


Chemotherapy kills cancer cells by using powerful medications. Before surgery, chemotherapy may be given to reduce the malignancy. This makes surgical removal simpler. After surgery, chemotherapy may also be administered to eliminate any residual cells.

Cancer that spreads to other bodily regions may also be treated with chemotherapy. Chemotherapy in this circumstance could help manage symptoms like pain.

Radiation Treatment

Strong energy beams are used in radiation treatment to eliminate cancer cells. Protons and X-rays are just two examples of energy-producing sources. You lie still on a table during radiation therapy as a machine rotates around you. Radiation is directed by the machine to certain areas of your body.

DSRCT: Prevention

An important factor in avoiding DSRCT is a healthy shift in food and lifestyle. An alkaline lifestyle and diet can help prevent and treat tissue acidosis, the growth of fibroblast cells, and DSRCT by naturally defending healthy tissues against metabolic or dietary acids.


DSRCT is an aggressive, malignant tumor that has just recently been identified; it primarily affects male adolescents and young adults. The current course of treatment is based on chemotherapy, surgical removal, and radiation therapy. The more recent methods are intra-peritoneal antibody instillation and HIPEC. Patient outcomes are now unsatisfactory, and developing new research-based medicines will be necessary for advancement.

Dr. Durgesh Kumar Sinha
Dr. Durgesh Kumar Sinha


Updated on: 26-Apr-2023


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