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Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - General Information About Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors Treatment

Table 1. Risk Stratification of Primary GIST by Mitotic Index, Tumor Size, and Tumor Locationa continued...

In the retrospective study of 200 patients cited in Table 1 above, 7% had isolated local recurrence and 47% had metastasis.[11] The site of relapse for GIST is usually intra-abdominal, involving the peritoneum, the liver, or both; true local recurrences are uncommon, and typically there is widespread intraperitoneal recurrence that may not be detectable by imaging techniques.[27] The median disease-specific survival of patients with metastatic GIST (N = 94) was 19 months.[11] In one retrospective study involving 119 patients with metastatic GIST, it was found that once a GIST becomes metastatic, kinase genotype did not factor into overall survival.[28]

The median time to recurrence for patients on imatinib is 2 years.[27]


The most appropriate tests and frequency of testing for metastatic or recurrent disease in patients who have undergone GIST resection are ill-defined, since the impact of follow-up strategies on clinical outcomes is not known. Follow-up recommendations are, therefore, based upon expert opinion and clinical judgment taking into account tumor site, size, and mitotic index. For surgically treated patients with localized disease, routine follow-up schedules may differ across institutions and may depend on the risk status of the tumor.[18] Abdominal/pelvic CT may be performed every 3 to 6 months, but very low-risk lesions may not need routine follow-up testing.[18]

CT or 18FDG-PET are used to monitor therapeutic effects in patients receiving systemic therapy for unresectable, metastatic, or recurrent disease.[27] 18FDG-PET may also be helpful in detecting resistance to TKI. If 18FDG-PET is used to monitor therapy with a TKI, a baseline FDG-PET is often performed before kinase inhibitor administration. Because 18FDG-PET imaging may detect the activity of imatinib in GIST much earlier than CT imaging, imaging of GIST with 18FDG-PET may represent a useful diagnostic modality for the very early assessment of response to imatinib therapy; a decrease in tumor avidity for 18FDG may be detected as early as 24 hours after a single dose of imatinib.[12]

Related Summary

(Refer to the Abdominal Cancers section in the PDQ summary on Unusual Cancers of Childhood Treatment for information on gastrointestinal stromal tumors in children.)


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Last Updated: February 25, 2014
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