Current standards and progress in understanding and treatment of GIST

Stephan Dirnhofer, Serge Leyvraz
2009 Swiss Medical Weekly  
Gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST), despite being rare, pose a relevant medical problem from the viewpoint of diagnosis and management. GIST are fragile, liable to metastasize and often located in delicate structures. Surgical options, therefore, are limited. In the last decade an improved understanding of the molecular mechanisms of the disease has resulted in novel modes of treatment. The introduction of systemic tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy with imatinib has significantly improved
more » ... ificantly improved the outcome of the disease and prolonged the survival of GIST patients. For many patients the acute threat of a deadly cancer has been transformed into a manageable chronic condition. Drug safety, tolerability and compliance, subjects of concern in all long-term therapies, have proven to be acceptable for the tyrosine kinase inhibitor imatinib. The present paper provides a compact overview of the epidemiology, pathophysiology and morphology of GIST, with special reference to the underlying molecular biology. Relevant aspects of diagnosis, therapy and monitoring of the disease are reviewed with particular emphasis on the available clinical evidence and recent guidelines.
pmid:19234877 fatcat:pby3vo44hzglfi4lyzmdr5thly