Molecular Targeting of Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans: A New Approach to a Surgical Disease

Author: Grant A. McArthur PhD 1
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  • 1 From the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, East Melbourne, Australia and the Department of Medicine, St. Vincent's Hospital, Fitzroy, Australia.

Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP) is a low-grade malignancy of the skin and subcutaneous tissues that only rarely forms distant metastases. More than 90% of cases are associated with a chromosomal translocation involving the COL1A1 gene on chromosome 17 and the platelet-derived growth factor B gene on chromosome 22. Management of this disease is primarily surgical with excellent rates of local control obtained using either wide local excision or Mohs micrographic surgery. Data have recently shown that inhibiting platelet-derived growth factor receptors (PDGFR) with imatinib can induce high rates of clinical response in patients with unresectable or metastatic DFSP. These data have led to approval of imatinib by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating uresectable DFSP. Although wide surgical excision remains standard care, patients with locally advanced disease not suitable for surgical excision can be treated with the PDGFR-inhibitor imatinib, which sometimes allows residual DFSP to be surgically excised.

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Correspondence: Grant McArthur, MB, BS, PhD, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, St. Andrews Place, East Melbourne, Australia 3002. E-mail: grant.mcarthur@petermac.org
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