Background: Imatinib has become the standard first line treatment of gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) in the advanced phase and adjuvant setting. We carried out an up-to-date meta-analysis to determine the practical role of mutation analysis for imatinib treatment in patients with advanced GIST.
Methods: Eligible studies were limited to imatinib treatment for patients with advanced GIST and reported on mutation analysis. Statistical analyses were conducted to calculate the odds ratio (OR), hazard ratio (HR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) using fixed-effects and random-effects models.
Results: A total of 2834 patients from 3 randomized controlled trials and 12 cohort studies were included. The ORs of response rates in KIT exon 11-mutant GISTs were 3.504 (95% CI 2.549-4.816, p<0.001) and 3.521 (95% CI 1.731-7.165, p=0.001) compared with KIT exon 9-mutant and wild type GISTs, respectively. The HRs of progression-free survival in KIT exon 11-mutant GISTs were 0.365 (95% CI 0.301-0.444, p<0.001) and 0.375 (95% CI 0.270-0.519, p<0.001) compared with KIT exon 9-mutant and wild type GISTs. The HRs of overall survival in KIT exon 11-mutant GISTs were 0.388 (95% CI 0.293-0.515, p<0.001) and 0.400 (95% CI 0.297-0.538, p<0.001) compared with KIT exon 9-mutant and wild type GISTs. No statistical significant differences were found between KIT exon 9-mutant and wild type. The overall response rate in KIT-exon 11-mutant GISTs were 70.5% (65%-75.9%) compared with 57.1% (51%-63.2%) in KIT-positive GISTs. No evidence of publication bias was observed.
Conclusion: Patients with advanced GIST harboring a KIT exon 11 mutation have the best response rate and long-term survival with imatinib treatment. Mutation analysis would be more helpful than KIT expression analysis to decide appropriate therapy for a specific patient.