A trial looking at radiotherapy for desmoid tumours that cannot be removed with an operation (EORTC 62991 - 22998)

Cancer type:

Soft tissue sarcoma




Phase 2

This trial tried to find out how well radiotherapy worked as a treatment for desmoid tumours.

Desmoid tumours are also sometimes called aggressive fibromatosis. This rare tumour grows in fibrous tissue. This tumour is not a cancer in that it does not spread to other parts of the body and it is not a life threatening disease. But desmoid tumours can cause problems because they can come back (recur) in the same place after treatment and they can be quite aggressive.

Desmoid tumours are usually treated with surgery. If an operation is not possible, radiotherapy is sometimes used.

Doctors didn’t know how successful radiotherapy was in treating this type of tumour. This was because so few people have this disease and are given radiotherapy. The aim of this international study was to find out if radiotherapy worked to treat desmoid tumours.

Summary of results

The trial team found that radiotherapy did work as treatment for people with desmoid tumours.

This was a phase 2 trial. It recruited 44 people. Everyone had radiotherapy to treat their desmoid tumours.

The researchers looked at how many people’s tumours had responded to treatment 3 years later. They found that

  • 6 people had no sign of their tumour – a complete response Open a glossary item
  • In 16 people the tumour had shrunk – a partial response Open a glossary item
  • In 18 people the tumour had stayed the same – stable disease Open a glossary item
  • 3 people had a tumour that had continued to grow

For 1 person they weren’t able to assess how well the tumour had responded. This was because the quality of the scan images at the beginning of treatment weren’t good enough to measure the size of the tumour.    

The main long term side effects of the radiotherapy were

The trial team concluded that radiotherapy worked well for people with desmoid tumours.

We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) and published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Dr M Robinson

Supported by

European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC)
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 263

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Cara took part in a clinical trial

A picture of Cara

"I am glad that taking part in a trial might help others on their own cancer journey.”

Last reviewed:

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