Superficial fibromatoses are genetically distinct from deep fibromatoses

E. Montgomery, J. H. Lee, S. C. Abraham, T. T. Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Whereas deep fibromatoses (abdominal, extra-abdominal, mesenteric) display locally aggressive behavior, superficial fibromatoses typically remain small and less likely to recur despite essentially identical morphology. Somatic β-catenin or APC gene mutations have been reported in ≤74% of sporadic deep fibromatoses and in virtually 100% of Gardner syndrome-associated fibromatoses, whereas genetic events in superficial fibromatoses remain less well characterized. We performed immunohistochemical staining for β-catenin on 29 superficial fibromatoses (22 palmar, 5 plantar, 1 penile, and 1 infantile digital fibromatosis) and 5 deep fibromatoses. Mutations of β-catenin and APC genes were analyzed in cases of superficial fibromatoses by direct DNA sequencing of the β-catenin gene on Exon 3 encompassing the GSK-3 36 phosphorylation region and of the APC gene on the mutation cluster region. Nuclear accumulation of β-catenin was present in 86% (25/29) of superficial fibromatosis cases ranging from 5 to 100% of nuclei (mean, 13%; median, 10%), though in a minority of nuclei in most examples. Deep fibromatoses had 60 to 100% nuclear staining in all five cases. No somatic mutations of β-catenin or APC genes were identified in any of the superficial fibromatoses. In contrast to deep fibromatoses, superficial fibromatoses lack β-catenin and APC gene mutations; the significance of focal nuclear β-catenin accumulation is unclear. This difference may account inpart for their divergent clinical manifestations despite their morphologic resemblance to deep fibromatoses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)695-701
Number of pages7
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2001


  • APC gene
  • Desmoid tumor
  • Dupuytren's contracture
  • Fibromatosis
  • Gardner's syndrome
  • β-catenin gene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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