July 25, 2023

Desmoplasia occurs when stroma, a specialized connective tissue, encounters cancer cells, leading to an abnormal tissue reaction.  This reaction is commonly found in malignant (cancerous) tumours and rarely in benign (noncancerous) ones. Under a microscope, desmoplasia typically appears light blue, with visible support cells called fibroblasts scattered throughout the tissue.  Pathologists use the presence of desmoplasia as evidence that the tumour being examined under the microscope is malignant. This reaction also aids in distinguishing between early non-invasive cancers (which do not show desmoplasia) and invasive cancers (which do show desmoplasia).

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

About this article

Doctors wrote this article to help you read and understand your pathology report. Contact us with any questions about this article or your pathology report. Read this article for a more general introduction to the parts of a typical pathology report.

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