Impact of a risk-based follow-up in patients affected by gastrointestinal stromal tumour

Lorenzo D'Ambrosio, Erica Palesandro, Paola Boccone, Francesco Tolomeo, Sara Miano, Danilo Galizia, Antonio Manca, Gabriele Chiara, Ilaria Bertotto, Filippo Russo, Delia Campanella, Tiziana Venesio, Dario Sangiolo, Ymera Pignochino, Dimitrios Siatis, Michele De Simone, Alessandro Ferrero, Alberto Pisacane, Angelo Paolo Dei Tos, Sandra AlibertiMassimo Aglietta, Giovanni Grignani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Follow-up aims to precociously identify recurrences, metastases or treatment-related adverse events so as to undertake the appropriate therapy. Guidelines admit lack of knowledge on optimal surveillance schedule, but suggest follow-up based on experts' opinion and risk stratification. To identify the impact, if any, of regular follow-up, we interrogated our prospectively collected database whether early detection of recurrences affected both clinical management and, likely, the outcome. Patients and methods We required information to be available on primary surgery and ≥3°years of follow-up for non-recurring patients. We analysed recurrence characteristics (asymptomatic versus symptomatic, low- versus high tumour burden) and computed tomography (CT) scan counts to detect one recurrence. Kaplan–Meier method estimated recurrence-free survival (RFS), post-recurrence progression-free survival (PR-PFS), and disease-specific overall survival (OS). Comparisons used Hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Multivariate analyses employed the Cox proportional hazards model. All tests were two-sided. Results Between 01/2001 and 12/2012 we found 233 study-eligible patients. Estimated 5- and 10-year RFS were 61.8% and 50.4%, respectively. After a 68-month median follow-up, we observed 94 (40.3%) recurrences [73/94 (77.7%) asymptomatic versus 21/94 (22.3%) symptomatic and 45/94 (47.9%) low- versus 49/94 (52.1%) high tumour burden]. Multivariate analysis revealed that symptomatic and high tumour burden recurrences were highly predictive of both worse PR-PFS (HR:3.19, P < 0.001; HR:2.80, P = 0.003, respectively) and OS (HR:3.65, P < 0.001; HR:2.38, P = 0.026, respectively). Finally, 29 second (primary) cancers were detected during follow-up. Conclusions Regular follow-up detects recurrences at an earlier stage and may be associated with a better PR-PFS and OS for these patients. In the absence of randomised trials, these evidences support follow-up effort and cost.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-132
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2017


  • Computerised tomography
  • Follow-up
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumour
  • GIST
  • Radiation exposure
  • Risk stratification
  • Surgery
  • Treatment guidelines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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