The use of adjuvant systemic therapy for localized gastrointestinal stromal tumors has significantly increased over time, a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Oncology, has found, and patients treated with the therapy have better survival than those treated with surgery alone, researchers say.
Although rare, gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) are the most common sarcomas of the gastrointestinal tract, with an estimated 4000 to 5000 cases per year in the United States. Treatment of GISTs has changed remarkably over the last decade, after studies showed a significant survival advantage with the use of imatinib (Gleevec) for the estimated 85 to 90 percent of tumors with the CD117 (KIT) proto-oncogene. In 2008, the FDA approved imatinib for the adjuvant systemic treatment of adult patients with the CD117 mutation after surgery. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recommends adjuvant imatinib treatment for GISTs with tumor size >3 cm and with intermediate or high risk of recurrence.
To estimate contemporary use, researchers from the American Cancer Society led by Helmneh Sineshaw, MD, MPH, analyzed data from the National Cancer Data Base to identify 4694 patients with localized GIST cases diagnosed between 2004 and 2011, and determined patterns of and factors associated with the use of adjuvant therapy.
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