Most gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) carry activating mutations of the KIT gene encoding the receptor tyrosine kinase KIT. In a previous study we were able to show an association between the lack of KIT mutations (wild-type GISTs) and the presence of a significant epithelioid tumor component. A very recent study described the occurrence of PDGFRalpha mutations in KIT wt GISTS. Therefore, we studied a panel of 87 GISTs for mutations in the hot spot regions of the PDGFRalpha gene with single strand conformation polymorphism analysis and sequencing and correlated the PDGFRalpha status with pathomorphological data. We detected 20 cases with exon 18 mutations but none with exon 12 mutations. The mutations were located in the second kinase domain of PDGFRalpha with 16 point mutations, and four larger deletions of 9 to 12 bp. All cases with mutations in the PDGFRalpha gene revealed wild-type KIT in common regions of mutation, ie, exons 9 and 11. Most interestingly, the occurrence of PDGFRalpha mutations was significantly associated with a higher frequency of epithelioid or mixed morphology (18 of 20 cases, P < 0.0001) and gastric location (all cases, P = 0.0008). Our data indicate that GISTs represent distinctive entities, differing in genetic, biological, and morphological features.