Several research studies have been conducted to seek more information on desmoid, its related prevention methods, its diagnostic process at the initial phase, and the best treatments strategies. Research on Desmoid tumors says sometimes a surgical procedure cannot remove these tumours entirely from the body. In that case, doctors switch to new methods and techniques to tackle the disease. A recent study evaluates the efficacy and safety of the drugendoxifen (Z-Endoxifen HCl) for treating tumours that have not responded to traditional hormone therapies and medications. Tegavivint is another targeted therapy drug being researched to treat desmoid tumours.
The drug may bind with a protein called TBL1. High-frequency ultrasound is an emerging, highly researched, non-invasive therapy that uses focused/channelled ultrasound beams to target and eliminate desmoid tumours without damaging the nearby healthy normal tissues. Palliative care is being integrated to improve the patients’ quality of life.
Advancement in Desmoid Tumor Research
Based on the latest research on desmoid tumors, those are tumours that occur in the body’s connective tissues. They usually develop from fibroblast cells that make up the connective tissues. Fibroblast cells are vital for wound healing. Connective tissues connect our bones, muscles, and ligaments and help hold our organs in place. Desmoid tumours are also called desmoid-type fibromatosis or aggressive fibromatosis. These tumors are more common in women than in men.
Since connective tissues are found all around the body, desmoid tumors can occur in any body part. But these tumors are mostly found in the shoulders, abdomen, thighs and upper arms. These tumors are benign and mostly non-cancerous. Even though desmoid tumors don’t depict a malignant nature of travelling to distant body parts from their initial area of origin, they are seen to invade nearby tissues and organs. Sometimes the disease condition can cause extreme pain. Desmoid tumors can grow at a slow as well as fast pace. When the growth of these tumors become rapid, the disease condition worsens.
There are various methods to treat desmoid tumors like surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy etc. Research on desmoid tumours says sometimes a surgical procedure cannot remove these tumors entirely from the body. In that case, doctors switch to new methods and techniques to tackle the disease.
Doctors and scientists are constantly working on learning more about desmoid tumors. They are trying to understand ways to prevent tumor growth in the body, treat the condition better, and provide the best possible care for people diagnosed with desmoid tumors. Clinical trials are essential in finding new, effective methods in diagnosing, treating and curing desmoid tumours (or any disease conditions). Patients can participate in these trials and decide whether the proposed trial is much better than the already available treatment or not. Patients should always talk with their doctor or healthcare team and enquire about any new advancements in the case of desmoid tumors. They are encouraged to ask their doctor about all diagnostic and treatment options that can work for their tumor condition.
The following are some of the latest research that are happening with respect to desmoid tumors.
- New hormone therapies:
The estrogen levels in the body play a vital role in causing desmoid tumors. A recent study evaluates the efficacy and safety of the drug endoxifen (Z-Endoxifen HCl) for treating tumors that have not responded to traditional hormone therapies and medications 1. This experimental drug is seen to slow or stop the growth of different types of estrogen-linked cancers.
Specific targeted therapies like pazopanib and sorafenib, are being used to treat desmoid tumors. Many active types of research are happening in the area of targeted therapy concerning desmoid tumors. One such study under analysis is for treating adults with aggressive desmoid tumor growths. The study uses a small molecule, a gamma-secretase inhibitor called nirogacestat, to deal with aggressive tumor growths. These “small-molecule drugs” are capable of blocking the process that helps these tumor cells to multiply and spread rapidly.
Tegavivint is another targeted therapy drug being researched to treat desmoid tumors. The drug may bind with a protein called TBL1 2. This TBL1 binds with beta-catenin, to which the gene CTNNB1 provides instructions for making. The ultimate goal is to inhibit excess beta-catenin caused by the variations in the CTNNB1 gene.
- High-frequency ultrasound:
High-frequency ultrasound is an emerging, highly researched, non-invasive therapy that uses focused/channelled ultrasound beams to target and eliminate desmoid tumors without damaging the nearby healthy normal tissues 3. This method can be used as an alternative for surgical procedures in some patients. Based on research on desmoid tumors high-frequency ultrasound is being used in a few medical centers to treat and manage desmoid tumors and clinical trials are still evaluating the potential and effectiveness of this method and its possible side effects when used for desmoid tumor treatments.
Supportive or palliative care
Supportive or palliative care is extremely important to help people cope with the disease condition physically and mentally. They form a vital part of active treatment. Many clinical trials and researches are finding and analyzing different ways and techniques to reduce and better manage the associated symptoms and side effects of desmoid tumors and the treatments. Palliative care focuses on improving the quality and comfort of patients’ life, by providing them with uncompromised, latest treatment, care and support.
- 1.Takebe N, Coyne GO, Kummar S, et al. Phase 1 study of Z-Endoxifen in patients with advanced gynecologic, desmoid, and hormone receptor-positive solid tumors. Oncotarget. Published online February 16, 2021:268-277. doi:10.18632/oncotarget.27887
- 2.Nomura M, Rainusso N, Lee YC, et al. Tegavivint and the β-Catenin/ALDH Axis in Chemotherapy-Resistant and Metastatic Osteosarcoma. JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Published online February 21, 2019:1216-1227. doi:10.1093/jnci/djz026
- 3.Shi Y, Huang Y, Zhou M, Ying X, Hu X. High-intensity focused ultrasound treatment for intra-abdominal desmoid tumors: a report of four cases. J Med Ultrasonics. Published online October 27, 2015:279-284. doi:10.1007/s10396-015-0682-9