Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans

What Is Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans (DFSP)?

Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans (DFSP) is a type of cancer called soft-tissue sarcoma and is rare. It forms in the skin’s deeper layers, typically on the torso but also on the arms, legs, head or neck. While it can grow and invade surrounding fat, muscle and bone if untreated, it rarely spreads (metastasizes) to other parts of the body.

While it has been diagnosed in patients of all ages, it most often appears in people who are 20 to 50. Experts are not yet clear what causes the disease.

Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans

Symptoms of Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans

In earlier stages, dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans might not cause any symptoms. But when a tumor does become noticeable, it usually follows a certain order:

  1. Starts with a small, slightly-raised, red or purple patch of skin 1 to 5 centimeters wide.
  2. Grows and can become a raised nodule.
  3. In some cases may cause redness, open up or bleed.

How Is Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans Diagnosed?

Since dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans often starts without symptoms, it is difficult to diagnose early. This type of skin cancer is often mistaken for other skin conditions. If cancer is suspected, your doctor may recommend:

  • Biopsy: Removing a piece of the lesion and studying it under a microscope.
  • MRI: Determining the size of the tumor with this imaging test.