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Skin Cancer

Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans

Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP) is a rare type of skin cancer that start from the connective tissue cells in the middle layer of the skin. This cancer is often diagnosed with a skin biopsy and can be locally invasive into the surrounding structures of the skin. At Phoenix Surgical Dermatology Group, our fellowship-trained and board-certified Mohs micrographic surgeon, Dr. Ramin Fathi, is an expert at removing and managing this type of cancer.

What causes dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans?

DFSP is associated with a random rearrangement of genetic material between two chromosomes (17 and 22). This translocation results in continuous growth of cells responsible for the cancer. Unlike other cancers which are causes by the sun, DFSP has shown no such association.

How serious is dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP)?

Fortunately, the overall prognosis for DFSP is excellent, with a 10-year survival rate of 99.1%. Metastasis is rare; however, local recurrence is a more common issue. This tumor is most amenable to treatment with Mohs micrographic surgery, as the Mohs technique evaluates 100% of the margin to give the highest chance at cure.

Can dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans spread to other body parts?

Rarely, DFSP has the potential to spread to other organs (lungs most commonly). This seems to be the exception to this tumor, not the typical course of disease fortunately.

Is dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans curable?

Many cases of DFSP are curable. Treatment with Mohs micrographic surgery has reported as high as a 98% cure rate. Many research studies have shown superior outcomes with Mohs surgery and according to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), Mohs surgery is considered the first-line treatment option for DFSP.

Is dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans common?

DFSP is very rare, hence the treatment should be performed by a fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon who has extensive experience with this tumor through a formal training process.

Is radiation needed for dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans?

After surgery, some patients may be candidates for radiation treatments. This may reduce the risk of DFSP from returning. Radiation should be considered in a case-by-case basis.

Is chemotherapy needed for dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans?

Some patients cannot undergo surgery; hence chemotherapy may be an option (imatinib mesylate). In cases where surgery is deemed too high-risk, our team will work with medical oncologists to consider other treatment options.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP) in Arizona, schedule a consultation with our board-certified and fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon, Dr. Ramin Fathi MD, to discuss your options.


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