ARTICLE ABSTRACTThe interaction between neoplastic and stromal cells within a tumor mass plays an important role in cancer biology. However, it is challenging to distinguish between tumor and stromal cells in mesenchymal tumors since lineage-specific cell surface markers typically used in other cancers do not distinguish between the different cell subpopulations. Desmoid tumors consist of mesenchymal fibroblast-like cells driven by mutations stabilizing beta-catenin. Here we aimed to identify surface markers that can distinguish mutant cells from stromal cells to study tumor-stroma interactions. We analyzed colonies derived from single cells from human desmoid tumors using a high throughput surface antigen screen, to characterize the mutant and non-mutant cells. We found that CD142 is highly expressed by the mutant cell populations and correlates with beta-catenin activity. CD142-based cell sorting isolated the mutant population from heterogeneous samples, including one where no mutation was previously detected by traditional Sanger sequencing. We then studied the secretome of mutant and non-mutant fibroblastic cells. PTX3 is one stroma-derived secreted factor that increases mutant cell proliferation via STAT6 activation. These data demonstrate a sensitive method to quantify and distinguish neoplastic from stromal cells in mesenchymal tumors. It identifies proteins secreted by non-mutant cells that regulate mutant cell proliferation that could be therapeutically.