Indian Journal of Nuclear Medicine
Home | About IJNM | Search | Current Issue | Past Issues | Instructions | Ahead of Print | Online submissionLogin 
Indian Journal of Nuclear Medicine
  Editorial Board | Subscribe | Advertise | Contact
Users Online: 1389 Print this page  Email this page Small font size Default font size Increase font size

 Table of Contents     
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 31  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 191-193  

Usefulness of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography in dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans on treatment with imatinib

1 Department of Nuclear Medicine and Positron Emission Tomography, Mahatma Gandhi Cancer Hospital, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India
2 Department of Medical Oncology, Mahatma Gandhi Cancer Hospital, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India
3 Department of Pathology, Indus Hospital, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India

Date of Web Publication7-Jun-2016

Correspondence Address:
Raghava Kashyap
Department of Nuclear Medicine and Positron Emission Tomography, Mahatma Gandhi Cancer Hospital, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-3919.181528

Rights and Permissions

Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP) is a rare locally aggressive tumor with distant metastases being unusual. We present a case of metastatic DFSP treated with imatinib showing complete metabolic response to treatment.

Keywords: 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose, dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans, fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography, imatinib, response evaluation

How to cite this article:
Kashyap R, Muddu VK, Anantamakula S, Sri S. Usefulness of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography in dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans on treatment with imatinib. Indian J Nucl Med 2016;31:191-3

How to cite this URL:
Kashyap R, Muddu VK, Anantamakula S, Sri S. Usefulness of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography in dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans on treatment with imatinib. Indian J Nucl Med [serial online] 2016 [cited 2022 Jan 25];31:191-3. Available from:

   Introduction Top

Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP) is a rare tumor involving the dermis of the skin with the incidence of 3–4/million.[1],[2] These tumors are locally aggressive; however, distant metastases are unusual.[3],[4],[5] The hallmark of this cancer is a specific translocation of COL1A1 and PDGFB (around 90% of the lesions).[6],[7] This makes the tumors susceptible to treatment with tyrosine kinase inhibitor imatinib.[8] F-18 fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography (FDG PET/CT) may be a useful modality in treatment response evaluation of metastatic DFSP.

   Case Report Top

The index case is a 62-year-old male patient. He presented for the 1st time 17 years back with a lesion in the left thigh which was completely excised and diagnosed as DFSP. He presented with local recurrence after 15 years and again underwent wide local resection with negative margins of excision. Imaging with CT scan did not show any distant metastases. There was no adjuvant therapy. There was a local recurrence a 2nd time after 1 year. An excision biopsy was repeated and revealed fibrosarcomatous components within the DFSP [Figure 1]a and [Figure 1]b. An 18 F-FDG PET/CT scan done to evaluate the disease extent showed extensive metastases in the both lungs [Figure 2]a, [Figure 2]c and [Figure 1]e along with bone metastasis involving the left acetabulum. A review of the previous chest CT scan done at the time of the first recurrence a year prior confirmed that the lung lesions were a new development. The patient was started on imatinib 400 mg once a day. The therapy was well tolerated without any major toxicity. A repeat PET scan was done 5 months after initiation of treatment and shows complete metabolic resolution of all the lesions while the CT reveals only partial response [Figure 2]b, [Figure 2]d and [Figure 2]f. The patient is currently on follow-up and has completed 7 months of therapy with imatinib.
Figure 1: (a) The low power view of the tumor showing herring bone pattern (b) high power view showing spindle shaped tumor cells arranged in fascicles and exhibiting moderate pleomorphism

Click here to view
Figure 2: (a) Whole body 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography image prior to treatment showing lesions in the left thigh, left iliac bone and lungs. (b) Whole body 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography image posttreatment showing complete metabolic response of all lesions. (c) Pretreatment transaxial image of the lung showing intensely hypermetabolic lung metastases. (d) Posttreatment transaxial image of the lung showing complete metabolic resolution and partial anatomical resolution of the lung lesions. (e) Pretreatment transaxial image showing hypermetabolic left iliac bone lesion. (f) Posttreatment transaxial image showing complete metabolic resolution of the iliac lesion

Click here to view

   Discussion Top

Our case report has several noteworthy features.

DFSP is a rare tumor of the skin with intermediate malignant potential. As exemplified in our case, the tumor typically presents with multiple local recurrences despite adequate wide local excision. The best surgical outcomes have been achieved with Moh's microsurgical procedure which is practiced only at specialized centers.[9]

The tumor in our patient demonstrated fibrosarcomatous transformation within the classical DFSP which is an unusual feature.[10],[11] The patient had rapid development of extensive pulmonary and skeletal metastases within a span on 1 year and the role of the transformation as a contributory factor is an intriguing question. Though pulmonary and lymph nodal metastases have been described previously in DFSP, bone metastasis are rare [Figure 2].{Figure 2}

The third noteworthy feature of the case is the radiological response to treatment with imatinib. More than 90% of cases of DFSP harbor translocation of 17 and 22 genes.[5],[12] Imatinib being a tyrosine kinase inhibitor has been shown to have definite role in DFSP in the following situations:[5],[12]

  • locally advanced disease that is inoperable,
  • locally advanced disease where a reduction in the size of the tumor would aid in surgical resection, and
  • Metastatic disease not amenable to surgical resection.

There are very few case reports on the role of 18 F-FDG PET in detection and follow-up of DFSP in the literature.[13],[14],[15],[16] Our patient demonstrated a drastic metabolic response on 18 F-FDG PET with the morphological response lagging behind [Figure 2]e. It is well-known that all cases of DFSP may not harbor the same genetic translocation [17] and hence might not respond to imatinib. We would like to propose that demonstration of response on 18 F-FDG PET/CT can act as a surrogate marker for patients who harbor gene rearrangement in DFSP and similar to the situation in nonsmall cell lung cancer, an early response evaluation PET may be able to predict the outcome in these patients.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Criscione VD, Weinstock MA. Descriptive epidemiology of dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans in the United States, 1973 to 2002. J Am Acad Dermatol 2007;56:968-73.  Back to cited text no. 1
Monnier D, Vidal C, Martin L, Danzon A, Pelletier F, Puzenat E, et al. Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans: A population-based cancer registry descriptive study of 66 consecutive cases diagnosed between 1982 and 2002. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 2006;20:1237-42.  Back to cited text no. 2
Gatlin JL, Hosch R, Khan M. Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans of the scalp with fibrosarcomatous degeneration and pulmonary metastasis. J Clin Imaging Sci 2011;1:55.  Back to cited text no. 3
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
Lal P, Goel A, Mandal AK. Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans of scalp with cervical lymph node metastasis. Sarcoma 2004;8:43-5.  Back to cited text no. 4
Bonnabeau RC Jr., Stoughton WB, Armanious AW, Cuono CB, Mossburg WL, Lancaster JR. Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans. Report of a case with pulmonary metastasis and multiple intrathoracic recurrences. Oncology 1974;29:1-12.  Back to cited text no. 5
Sandberg AA, Bridge JA. Updates on the cytogenetics and molecular genetics of bone and soft tissue tumors. Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans and giant cell fibroblastoma. Cancer Genet Cytogenet 2003;140:1-12.  Back to cited text no. 6
Naeem R, Lux ML, Huang SF, Naber SP, Corson JM, Fletcher JA. Ring chromosomes in dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans are composed of interspersed sequences from chromosomes 17 and 22. Am J Pathol 1995;147:1553-8.  Back to cited text no. 7
McArthur GA, Demetri GD, van Oosterom A, Heinrich MC, Debiec-Rychter M, Corless CL, et al. Molecular and clinical analysis of locally advanced dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans treated with imatinib: Imatinib target exploration consortium study B2225. J Clin Oncol 2005;23:866-73.  Back to cited text no. 8
Meguerditchian AN, Wang J, Lema B, Kraybill WG, Zeitouni NC, Kane JM 3rd. Wide excision or Mohs micrographic surgery for the treatment of primary dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans. Am J Clin Oncol 2010;33:300-3.  Back to cited text no. 9
Mentzel T, Beham A, Katenkamp D, Dei Tos AP, Fletcher CD. Fibrosarcomatous (“high-grade”) dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans: Clinicopathologic and immunohistochemical study of a series of 41 cases with emphasis on prognostic significance. Am J Surg Pathol 1998;22:576-87.  Back to cited text no. 10
Liang CA, Jambusaria-Pahlajani A, Karia PS, Elenitsas R, Zhang PD, Schmults CD. A systematic review of outcome data for dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans with and without fibrosarcomatous change. J Am Acad Dermatol 2014;71:781-6.  Back to cited text no. 11
Rutkowski P, Van Glabbeke M, Rankin CJ, Ruka W, Rubin BP, Debiec-Rychter M, et al. Imatinib mesylate in advanced dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans: Pooled analysis of two phase II clinical trials. J Clin Oncol 2010;28:1772-9.  Back to cited text no. 12
Al-Tamimi A, Zaheer S, Pierce CK, Osmany S, Sittampalam K. Recurrent dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans of the shoulder with rare distant abdominal metastasis detected by fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography/computed tomography (FDG-PET/CT). Sultan Qaboos Univ Med J 2012;12:371-4.  Back to cited text no. 13
Basu S, Baghel NS. Recurrence of dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans in post-surgical scar detected by 18F-FDG-PET imaging. Hell J Nucl Med 2009;12:68.  Back to cited text no. 14
Karunanithi S, Jain TK, Singh A, Bal C, Kumar R. 18F-FDG PET/CT in a seldom case of primary duodenal dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans with lung and skeletal metastases. Clin Nucl Med 2015;40:e140-2.  Back to cited text no. 15
Suman S, Sharma P, Jain TK, Sahoo MK, Bal C, Kumar R. Recurrent dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans with pulmonary metastases presenting twelve years after initial diagnosis: 18F-FDG PET/CT imaging findings. Clin Nucl Med 2014;39:77-8.  Back to cited text no. 16
Llombart B, Monteagudo C, Sanmartín O, López-Guerrero JA, Serra-Guillén C, Poveda A, et al. Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans: A clinicopathological, immunohistochemical, genetic (COL1A1-PDGFB), and therapeutic study of low-grade versus high-grade (fibrosarcomatous) tumors. J Am Acad Dermatol 2011;65:564-75.  Back to cited text no. 17


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]

This article has been cited by
1 18F-FDG-PET/CT interpretation pitfalls in patients with head and neck cancer
Nikolaos Tsetsos, Alexandros Poutoglidis, Georgios Arsos, Aikaterini Tsentemeidou, Adamantios Kilmpasanis, Dimitrios Katsampoukas, Georgios Fyrmpas
American Journal of Otolaryngology. 2022; 43(1): 103209
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans: Update on the Diagnosis and Treatment
Xingpei Hao, Steven D. Billings, Fangbai Wu, Todd W. Stultz, Gary W. Procop, Gene Mirkin, Allison T. Vidimos
Journal of Clinical Medicine. 2020; 9(6): 1752
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
    Access Statistics
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this article
   Case Report
    Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded119    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 2    

Recommend this journal