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Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2004 Nov;16(11):1237-9.

Combined liver transplantation plus imatinib for unresectable metastases of gastrointestinal stromal tumours.

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Division of Liver Surgery and Transplantation and Department of Pathology, University Hospital La FE, Valencia, Spain.


Therapeutic options for treating unresectable hepatic metastases of leiomyosarcomas were scarce until a few years ago. Recent advances in the study of the biology of intestinal tumours have radically changed our knowledge of their pathogenesis. Many of the tumours previously considered as leiomyosarcomas are now identified as gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GISTs). The introduction of imatinib (an antineoplasic drug that specifically acts on the pathogenesis of these tumours) has shown promising results in patients with advanced GISTs. We present three patients with the initial diagnosis of unresectable hepatic metastases of leiomyosarcomas. They received liver transplants. All three had tumour recurrences after transplantation. Histological re-evaluation identified a stromal origin of the tumours, and the patients were treated with imatinib therapy (400 mg/day). Recurrence occurred in all patients after a mean of 38.3 months, but imatinib treatment achieved control of the tumours. The current survival times with the combination of transplantation and imatinib are 92, 48 and 46 months for the three patients. This series is small and inconclusive, but imatinib treatment showed promising results. The treatment options for patients with unresectable metastases of GISTs must be defined, as in these three patients liver transplantation achieved a disease-free status but all had tumour recurrences before starting the imatinib treatment.

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