Distinctive features of gastrointestinal stromal tumors arising from the colon and rectum

Rebecca Zhu, Fangfang Liu, Gabriella Grisotti, Javier Pérez-Irizarry, Charles H. Cha, Caroline H. Johnson, Daniel J. Boffa, Dale Han, Kimberly L. Johung, Yawei Zhang, Sajid A. Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: Colon and rectal gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) are rare and poorly characterized. Because the majority of treatment guidelines for GISTs are extrapolated from tumors of gastric and small bowel origin, our aim was to better characterize the unique clinicopathologic features and prognostic factors of colon and rectal GISTs to guide clinical care. Methods: The National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) was queried from 2006 to 2013 for cases of GISTs in the stomach, colon, and rectum. Patient demographics, clinical characteristics, and survival were compared. Results: A total of 11,302 gastric GISTs were compared to 398 colon and 393 rectal GISTs. After propensity matching, compared to gastric GISTs, rectal GISTs had improved overall survival (HR =0.695, P=0.0264), while colon GISTs had worse overall survival (HR =1.6, P=0.0005). Surgical treatment for rectal GISTs was more likely to be local excision compared to colonic GISTs (51.1% vs. 8.4%, P<0.0001). Colon and gastric GISTs were less likely to receive systemic therapy compared to rectal GISTs (34.2% vs. 34.0% vs. 55.2%, P<0.0001). Adjuvant systemic therapy conveyed a survival advantage to rectal GISTs (HR =0.47, P=0.042) but not colon GISTs. There was a negative impact of adjuvant therapy on survival for colon GISTs <5 cm (HR =3.41, P=0.032). Conclusions: Patients with rectal GISTs live longer than those with colon and gastric GISTs, and adjuvant therapy prolongs their survival. Many patients with colon GISTs are treated with adjuvant therapy despite a detrimental effect on survival. Tumor biology of colon and rectal GISTs needs to be better studied to tailor treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-240
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Gastrointestinal Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018


  • Adjuvant therapy
  • Colon
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs)
  • Rectum
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Gastroenterology


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