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Radiotherapy in the treament of gastrointestinal stromal tumors

Author(s): Christin A. Knowlton | Luther W. Brady | Rebecca C. Heintzelman

Journal: Rare Tumors
ISSN 2036-3603

Volume: 3;
Issue: 4;
Start page: e35;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: gastrointestinal stromal tumor | GIST | radiotherapy | radiation therapy

Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) are uncommon mesenchymal tumors of the gastrointestinal tract. Up to one-third of GISTs are malignant with a high rate of metastasis. Surgical resection is the mainstay of care for patients with resectable disease. Imatinib mesylate, a selective tyrosine kinase inhibitor, is the current standard of care for GISTs that cannot be completely resected or in cases of metastatic GIST. Although often overlooked, radiation therapy is a viable option for select patients with GIST. We report the case of a patient with unresectable GIST who was treated with local radiotherapy and achieved longterm response. We also present a review of the literature regarding the use of radiotherapy in the treatment of GIST. GIST has been shown to be a radiosensitive tumor. Radiotherapy can offer long-term local control and should be considered in the adjuvant or palliative setting. The role of radiotherapy delivered concurrently with imatinib in the treatment of GIST may warrant further investigation.
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