Neoadjuvant, adjuvant and palliative treatment of gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST) with imatinib: a centre-based study of 17 patients

Br J Cancer. 2003 Aug 4;89(3):460-4. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6600965.


Malignant gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST) have a poor prognosis. Since these tumours are resistant to conventional radiation and chemotherapy, surgery has been the mainstay of treatment. However, surgery is usually inadequate for the treatment of malignant GIST. Imatinib, a KIT tyrosine kinase inhibitor, has recently been found to have a dramatic antitumour effect on GIST. In this centre-based study of 17 consecutive patients with high-risk or overtly malignant GIST, imatinib was used in three different settings - palliatively, adjuvantly, and neoadjuvantly. The treatment was found to be safe and particularly effective in tumours with activating mutations of exon 11 of the KIT gene. Clinical response to imatinib treatment correlated morphologically to tumour necrosis, hyalinisation, and reduced proliferative activity. The value of neoadjuvant imatinib treatment was illustrated in one case.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Benzamides
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Humans
  • Imatinib Mesylate
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy
  • Palliative Care
  • Piperazines / administration & dosage
  • Piperazines / pharmacology*
  • Prognosis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit / genetics
  • Pyrimidines / administration & dosage
  • Pyrimidines / pharmacology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Stromal Cells / pathology*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Benzamides
  • Piperazines
  • Pyrimidines
  • Imatinib Mesylate
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit