Activated Signaling Pathways and Targeted Therapies in Desmoid-Type Fibromatosis: A Literature Review

Milea J M Timbergen, Ron Smits, Dirk J Grünhagen, Cornelis Verhoef, Stefan Sleijfer, Erik A C Wiemer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


Desmoid-type fibromatosis (DTF) is a rare, soft tissue tumor of mesenchymal origin which is characterized by local infiltrative growth behavior. Besides "wait and see," surgery and radiotherapy, several systemic treatments are available for symptomatic patients. Recently, targeted therapies are being explored in DTF. Unfortunately, effective treatment is still hampered by the limited knowledge of the molecular mechanisms that prompt DTF tumorigenesis. Many studies focus on Wnt/β-catenin signaling, since the vast majority of DTF tumors harbor a mutation in the CTNNB1 gene or the APC gene. The established role of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway in DTF forms an attractive therapeutic target, however, drugs targeting this pathway are still in an experimental stage and not yet available in the clinic. Only few studies address other signaling pathways which can drive uncontrolled growth in DTF such as: JAK/STAT, Notch, PI3 kinase/AKT, mTOR, Hedgehog, and the estrogen growth regulatory pathways. Evidence for involvement of these pathways in DTF tumorigenesis is limited and predominantly based on the expression levels of key pathway genes, or on observed clinical responses after targeted treatment. No clear driver role for these pathways in DTF has been identified, and a rationale for clinical studies is often lacking. In this review, we highlight common signaling pathways active in DTF and provide an up-to-date overview of their therapeutic potential.

Original languageEnglish
Article number397
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2019


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