Gastrointestinal stromal tumors in the appendix: a clinicopathologic and immunohistochemical study of four cases

Am J Surg Pathol. 2001 Nov;25(11):1433-7. doi: 10.1097/00000478-200111000-00013.


Mesenchymal tumors of the appendix are very rare, and specific stromal tumors (i.e., gastrointestinal stromal tumors, GISTs) have not been reported in this location to date. Four GISTs were identified in the review of primary mesenchymal tumors of the appendix from the files of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology from 1970 to 1998. There were also one benign schwannoma, one diffuse neurofibroma with neurofibromatosis 1, one leiomyosarcoma in a child with HIV infection, and one inflammatory fibroid polyp. The four appendiceal GISTs occurred in adult males 56-72 years of age (mean 63 years). Two tumors occurred in patients who had surgery for appendicitis-like symptoms: one was an incidental finding during surgery for a malignant gastric epithelioid GIST and one was an incidental autopsy finding. Only one of the two appendices operated for symptoms had acute inflammation, and a polypoid GIST projected outward from the proximal part of appendix. Three tumors were partially obliterating nodules, eccentrically expanding the appendiceal wall. All four were spindle cell tumors, and three of them contained extracellular collagen globules (skeinoid fibers); none had atypia or mitotic activity (<1/50 high power fields). Immunohistochemically, two tumors studied were positive for CD117 (KIT), and two were positive for CD34. The tumors were negative for alpha-smooth muscle actin and S-100 protein. Follow-up revealed death from cardiovascular disease in one case (4 years after appendectomy) and liver failure because of malignant gastric epithelioid GIST metastatic to liver in another case 15 years after the appendectomy. This report documents the rare occurrence of CD117-positive GISTs as primary appendiceal tumors.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antigens, CD34 / analysis
  • Appendiceal Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Appendiceal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit / analysis
  • Stromal Cells / chemistry
  • Stromal Cells / pathology


  • Antigens, CD34
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit