Desmoplasia is a word pathologists use to describe the way tissue looks under the microscope after it has come in contact with cancer cells. Desmoplasia is commonly seen in a special type of supporting tissue called stroma. When examined under the microscope, desmoplasia often looks light blue. Long thin support cells called fibroblasts may also be seen. Another word that means the same thing as desmoplasia is desmoplastic.
Seeing desmoplasia in a tissue sample alerts pathologists to look closely for cancer cells. This change is especially helpful because it makes it easier to find even small groups of cancer cells. Desmoplasia can also be used to tell the difference between early or non-invasive cancer and invasive cancer because desmoplasia is usually only seen with invasive cancer.