Indications for surgery in advanced/metastatic GIST

Samuel J. Ford, Alessandro Gronchi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GISTs) are a relatively rare entity and often present as a locally advanced tumour or with metastatic disease. Complete surgical resection is the only means of cure in localised disease; however, imatinib therapy has greatly advanced the management of GIST and is established as both an adjunct to surgery in high-risk cases and as principle therapy in metastatic disease. Surgery in advanced GIST has undergone a renaissance in recent years with the potential for a combined treatment approach with either neoadjuvant imatinib in locally advanced primary disease or as an adjunct to imatinib in those with metastases or recurrent disease. Neoadjuvant imatinib can render a locally advanced primary GIST resectable, allow less invasive procedures or promote preservation of function, especially if the tumour is located in an anatomically difficult position. The role of surgery in metastatic or recurrent disease is more controversial and case selection is critical. The potential benefit is difficult to quantify, although surgery may have a limited favourable impact on progression-free survival and overall survival for those patients whose disease is responding to imatinib or those with limited focal progression. Patients with imatinib resistant disease should not be offered surgery unless as an emergency where palliative intervention may be justified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-167
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Advanced
  • GIST
  • Imatinib
  • Metastatic
  • Sarcoma
  • Surgery
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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