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Oncology. 2003;65(3):187-97.

Gastrointestinal stromal tumors: biology and treatment.

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Service d'Oncologie m├ędicale, CHU Timone-Adultes, Marseille, France.


Scientific knowledge on gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) has dramatically progressed over the last 10 years. During this period, this distinct disease entity was identified under various acronyms (GIST remaining the most commonly used), the molecular basis of disease transformation (i.e. activating c-KIT mutations) was identified in sporadic and familial cases, and finally GIST was identified as the sarcoma subtype most resistant to chemotherapy in both retrospective and prospective studies. Until 2000, surgery was the only reported efficient treatment modality in this disease, both in the localized and metastatic phase. In 2000, the first GIST patient received Glivec, and in the last 3 years, more than 2,000 patients were included in prospective trials evaluating this compound in advanced phases. Disease control is initially achieved in 80-90% of patients, with only 10-15% of patients dying in the first year following the occurrence of metastases, while the median overall survival was less than 12 months with previous treatment options. However, there still remain several questions regarding long-term outcome, tolerance, cure, dose of Glivec, and alternative treatment upon relapse of GIST in patients receiving Glivec. Additional follow-up is necessary. Glivec treatment of GIST is the first example of an efficient targeted treatment in a solid tumor.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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