Medical Dermatology

Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans

Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP) is an uncommon type of skin cancer that rarely spreads to other parts of the body, but frequently recurs following excision. Without early treatment, the cancer can invade deep into fat, muscle and even bone. The cancer tends to form on the trunk (chest, back, abdomen, shoulders, buttocks) and arms or legs. People of all ages can get DFSP, with most being diagnosed between the ages of 20-50 years old. One of the first signs of DFSP tends to be a small bump on the skin that resembles a deep-seated pimple or rough patch on skin, which has no pain or tenderness. The lesion will enlarge and may begin to itch or become tender. The bumps range in color from a reddish brown to a violet color. While it is not known what causes DFSP, it has been noted that DFSP can sometimes begin on skin that has been previously injured, such as from a burn or prior surgery. A biopsy is required to confirm the diagnosis of a DFSP.  Surgical excision is the mainstay of treatment for DFSP; it may be performed with a wide local excision, Mohs surgery, or a modified “slow Mohs” procedure. In addition, doctors may recommend treatment with radiation or imatinib mesylate (Gleevec).