July 25, 2023

What does desmoplasia mean?

Desmoplasia is an abnormal tissue reaction that happens when specialized connective tissue called stroma comes into contact with cancer cells. For this reason, desmoplasia is commonly seen in malignant (cancerous) tumours. It is very unusual to see desmoplasia in a benign (non-cancerous tumour).

What does desmoplasia look like under the microscope?

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.

Desmoplasia. In the picture, cancer cells are surrounded by blue/purple desmoplastic stroma.

Why is desmoplasia important?

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.

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