Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) presenting as a multilocular cystic intra-abdominal mass in a dog

BMC Vet Res. 2022 Nov 26;18(1):415. doi: 10.1186/s12917-022-03504-0.


Background: Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) is a malignant mesenchymal neoplasm described in humans, dogs, and cats. A hallmark of diagnosis for GISTs is positive immunohistochemical labelling with c-Kit (CD117). The differentiation of GIST from other mesenchymal neoplasms of the gastrointestinal tract is pivotal to allow for initiation of appropriate treatment. In humans, cystic GIST has been described, though this has not been reported in dogs. In humans, the cystic form of GIST has been associated with a favorable prognosis. In the present paper, we report a case of multilocular cystic GIST in a dog, which has not previously been described in this species.

Case presentation: A ten-year-old, male-entire Maltese terrier mix breed dog presented with a large cystic mural mass of the duoedenum and orad jejunum. Histopathology and positive immunohistochemical staining with CD117 confirmed a diagnosis of GIST. No evidence of metastasis was detected on routine staging with abdominal sonography and thoracic radiography at the time of diagnosis. Surgical resection was performed and toceranib therapy was initiated post-operatively. Metastasis was documented 251 days after surgery on computed tomography. Due to clinical deterioration, the patient was humanely euthanised 370 days after surgical excision.

Conclusions: There are few differential diagnoses for large multilocular cystic intra-abdominal masses in dogs. This case presents a previously undescribed presentation of gastrointestinal stromal tumor in the dog as a predominantly multilocular cystic mass. It remains unclear if the cystic form of GIST may represent a favorable prognosis in dogs.

Keywords: Abdominal; CD117; Cyst; Mesenchymal; Neoplasia; Peritoneal; Toceranib; c-Kit.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cysts* / diagnosis
  • Cysts* / veterinary
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Dog Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Dogs
  • Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors* / diagnosis
  • Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors* / pathology
  • Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors* / veterinary
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit