Purpose: Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) are common tumors of the gastrointestinal tract. Their most frequent location is the stomach. Although the clinical and pathological characteristics of the disease are well-known, the clinical and pathological characteristics and the response to treatment are not clear in elderly patients. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the characteristics of GISTs in elderly patients with an aim at improving the therapeutic methodology and survival.
Methods: In this study, clinicopathological characteristics, evaluation of treatments administered and survival analyses were performed in patients aged 65 years or above, whose data were registered via a web-based patient records system following admission to three centers.
Results: A total of 85 patients aged 65 years or above were included in the study. According to the risk classification, 24 (28.2%) were in the low risk group, 20 (23.5%) in the moderate risk group, and 41 (48.3%) in high risk group, while no patient was in the very low risk group. At baseline, 70% of the patients had localized disease and 30% metastatic disease. The tumor was located in the stomach in the majority of the patients (45.6%). The tumor size most commonly seen was 5-10 cm (N=31; 36.4%). Of the 85 patients 23 (27%) were treated with imatinib 400 mg/d. Eight patients (9.4%) with metastatic disease switched from imatinib to sunitinib. At a median follow-up of 76 months (range 1-323), median overall survival (OS) was 72 months, without significant difference between elderly and younger patients.
Conclusion: Clinicopathological characteristics and their prognostic impact on the disease course of elderly GIST patients should be elucidated in depth. Since age didn't show prognostic importance, other parameters should be used as prognostic/predictive factors in the tyrosine kinase inhibitors era in order to obtain improved therapeutic results.