Perioperative treatment of gastrointestinal stromal tumors

Gustavo Dos Santos Fernandes, Charles D. Blanke, Daniela Freitas, Rodrigo Guedes, Paulo M. Hoff

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This review describes the current multidisciplinary management of gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), which is the most common sarcoma of the gastrointestinal tract. Before 2001, surgery was the only effective therapy for GIST. The discovery of the central role of KIT proto-oncogene mutations in the pathogenesis of this tumor, and the development of specific inhibitors of KIT tyrosine kinase (TK) function, has changed the paradigm of treatment for GISTs. Imatinib and sunitinib are TK inhibitors with activity against GISTs. Their major established role in GIST is in the treatment of advanced disease. A growing body of literature and clinical experience support the potential perioperative use of these drugs. The adjuvant use of imatinib is based on retrospective series and limited prospective studies demonstrating that imatinib reduces the risk of recurrence. Ongoing studies are further defining the length of adjuvant therapy, as well as identifying the patients that could achieve the best results. Neoadjuvant treatment often decreases the tumor size, allowing a less morbid surgery, appears to be safe and beneficial for some patients, and therefore deserves further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-61
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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