Advanced gastrointestinal stromal tumors successfully treated with imatinib mesylate: A report of two cases

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Activation of kit-receptor tyrosine kinase occurs in all cases of gastrointestinal stromal tumors, regardless of the mutation status of kit. Imatinib mesylate (STI 571,Gleevec) is a selective inhibitor of certain protein tyrosine kinases. It has been shown in preclinical models and clinical studies to have activity against such tumors. The aim of the present study was to report the efficacy of imatinib mesylate in the treatment of advanced gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Two adults with histologically confirmed, unresectable, and metastatic gastrointestinal stromal tumors that expressed CD117 (a marker of kit-receptor tyrosine kinase) were identified at our institution during 2000-2002. As the diseases were advanced and not amenable to surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy, imatinib mesylate was used, because this targeted inhibitor has been shown to be active against advanced gastrointestinal stromal tumors and has a mild toxicity profile. Imatinib mesylate induced a sustained response in both patients with advanced unresectable or metastatic gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Inhibition of the KIT signal-transduction pathway is a promising treatment for advanced gastrointestinal stromal tumors, which resist conventional chemotherapy.

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