The discovery of activated KIT mutations in gastrointestinal (GI) stromal tumors (GISTs) in 1998 triggered a sea change in our understanding of these tumors and has ushered in a new paradigm for the use of molecular genetic diagnostics to guide targeted therapies. KIT and PDGFRA mutations account for 85-90% of GISTs; subsequent genetic studies have led to the identification of mutation/epimutation of additional genes, including the succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) subunit A, B, C, and D genes. This review focuses on integrating findings from clinicopathologic, genetic, and epigenetic studies, which classify GISTs into two distinct clusters: an SDH-competent group and an SDH-deficient group. This development is important since it revolutionizes our current management of affected patients and their relatives, fundamentally, based on the GIST genotype.
Keywords: BRAF; Carney triad; Carney–Stratakis syndrome; GIST; KIT; KRAS; NF-1; PDGFRA; SDH; SDHCme; gastrointestinal stromal tumor; imatinib.
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