Is there something other than imatinib mesilate in therapeutic options for GIST?

Francesco Giuliani, Giuseppe Colucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: In the last decade, the introduction of imatinib mesilate into the clinical practice has resulted in a dramatic improvement in the treatment of gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST). Nowadays, the median overall survival in patients with advanced disease has increased to 5 years, while recent Phase III trials demonstrated that imatinib mesilate can be successfully employed as adjuvant therapy in patients at significant risk of recurrence. Despite these good results, the emergence of secondary resistance represents the main cause of treatment failure. In recent years, many efforts have been made in search of drugs to overcome imatinib mesilate resistance; some of these have been employed as second-line treatment or salvage therapy. Areas covered: Summarized and investigated in this paper are the results obtained by imatinib mesilate in advanced and adjuvant setting, the role of sunitinib malate as second-line therapy in imatinib mesilate-resistant patients and the clinical results concerning new drugs, mainly tyrosine-kinase inhibitors. Expert opinion: Current research on novel therapeutic agents, as third-line treatments in GIST, is ongoing. However, despite the promising results obtained with the new molecules, imatinib mesilate remains the cornerstone in the medical treatment of GIST and to date no other drugs can replace it.

Original languageEnglish
JournalExpert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets
Issue numberSUPPL.2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012


  • gastrointestinal stromal tumors
  • imatinib in advanced disease
  • new drugs in medical treatment
  • sunitinib as second line

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine


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