Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans: Wide local excision vs. Mohs micrographic surgery

A. Paradisi, D. Abeni, A. Rusciani, E. Cigna, M. Wolter, N. Scuderi, L. Rusciani, R. Kaufmann, M. Podda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP) is an uncommon tumor of the skin with high rates of local recurrence. It is debated whether Mohs micrographic surgery (MMS) involves lower recurrence rates than wide local excision (WLE). Recent preliminary reports indicate more consistently favorable cure rates with MMS. We report comparative observational data on 41 patients who underwent MMS and 38 who underwent WLE. Their data were then pooled with those available in the medical literature to obtain more precise estimates of recurrence rates with MMS and WLE. Methods: The records of 79 patients with DFSP who underwent WLE (n = 38) or MMS (n = 41) in 1990-2005 were reviewed retrospectively. The primary endpoint was tumor recurrence rate. The PubMed database was searched for DFSP case series treated with WLE or MMS, and the recurrence proportions reported for the two separate procedures were pooled. Results: Five of the 38 WLE patients (follow-up = 4.8 years) had recurrences (13.2%, 95% CI 4.4-28.1%) as opposed to none (95% CI 0-8.6%) of the 41 MMS patients (follow-up = 5.4 years). Pooling of these data with those from the literature yielded 6/463 recurrences for MMS (1.3%, 95% CI 0.5-2.8%) and 288/1394 recurrences for WLE (20.7%, 95% CI 18.6-22.9%). The relative risk of recurrence for WLE vs. MMS patients was 15.9 (95% CI 7.2-35.5). Conclusions: Significantly lower recurrence rates were recorded in our patients subjected to MMS compared with those treated with WLE. The pooled data also indicated a clear advantage of MMS. There is inconclusive evidence for any advantage of MMS in non-primary cases, while MMS was most effective in treating head and neck tumors. These data may be useful to guide clinicians in the choice of the more appropriate surgical treatment for DFSP patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)728-736
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Treatment Reviews
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008


  • Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans
  • Mohs micrographic surgery
  • Recurrence rate
  • Wide local excision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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