Desmoid Tumor

Treatment options include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and hormone therapy.


Surgery to remove the tumor is the primary treatment for a Desmoid tumor. Because these tumors rarely spread or metastasize, surgery alone often is the only necessary treatment. However, Desmoid tumors have a high recurrence rate, meaning they return after treatment, if they aren't completely removed. Frequently, more than one surgery is needed.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation from X-rays or other sources to kill cells and shrink tumors. Radiation may be used alone or in conjunction with surgery.


Chemotherapy is the use of drugs — taken orally or injected into a vein or muscle — to kill cancer cells. Researchers are testing some types of chemotherapy to shrink desmoid tumors that are located too close to blood vessels or other organs, making surgery difficult. Chemotherapy is called a systemic treatment because the drug enters your child's bloodstream and can kill cancer cells as it travels throughout the body.

Hormone therapy

Anti-hormonal medications are sometimes used as a form of treatment because some hormones seem to increase the growth of Desmoid tumors.

Anti-inflammatory medication

Anti-inflammatory medication may be given to your child to help manage pain and swelling.

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

Related Information

UCSF Clinics & Centers

Cancer & Blood Disease

Oncology Clinic
1825 Fourth St., Sixth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 476-3831
Fax: (415) 502-4372
Appointment information

Treatment Center
1825 Fourth St., Sixth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 353-2584
Fax: (415) 353-2600
Appointment information