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Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors of the Stomach: A Clinicopathologic, Immunohistochemical, and Molecular Genetic Study of 1765 Cases With Long-term Follow-up

Miettinen, Markku MD*; Sobin, Leslie H MD; Lasota, Jerzy MD*

The American Journal of Surgical Pathology: January 2005 - Volume 29 - Issue 1 - p 52-68
doi: 10.1097/
Original Article

Gastrointestinal (GI) stromal tumors (GISTs), the specific KIT- or PDFGRA-signaling driven mesenchymal tumors, are the most common mesenchymal tumors of the GI tract. In this study, we analyzed 1869 cases originally classified as smooth muscle tumors of the stomach and found that 1765 (94%) of these were GISTs. The GISTs had a slight male predominance (55%) with a median age of 63 years. Only 2.7% of tumors occurred before the age of 21 years and 9.1% before the age of 40 years. The tumors varied from 0.5 to 44 cm (median, 6.0 cm) and most commonly presented with GI bleeding; 12% were incidentally detected. Several histologic variants were recognized among the spindle cell tumors (sclerosing, palisaded-vacuolated, hypercellular, and sarcomatous) and of epithelioid tumors (sclerosing, dyscohesive, hypercellular, and sarcomatous). Outcome was strongly dependent on tumor size and mitotic activity. Only 2% to 3% of tumors <10 cm and <5 mitoses/50 HPFs metastasized, whereas 86% of tumors >10 cm and >5 mitoses/50 HPFs metastasized. However, tumors >10 cm with mitotic activity <5/50 HPFs and those <5 cm with mitoses >5/50 HPFs had a relatively low metastatic rate (11% and 15%). A small number of patients survived intra-abdominal metastasis up to over 20 years. Tumor location in fundus or gastroesophageal junction, coagulative necrosis, ulceration, and mucosal invasion were unfavorable factors (P < 0.001), whereas tumor location in antrum was favorable (P < 0.001). KIT expression was detected in 91% of the cases, CD34 in 82%, smooth muscle actin in 18%, and desmin in 5%; the latter two were favorable (P < 0.001). KIT exon 11 mutations were detected in 119 cases; patients with point mutations fared better than those with deletions (P < 0.01). PDGFRA exon 18 mutations (total 86 cases) were common in epithelioid GISTs and most commonly represented a D842V point mutation; none of these was prognostically significant. The above results may be helpful for setting the criteria for adjuvant treatment such as Gleevec.

From the Departments of *Soft Tissue Pathology and †Hepatic and Gastrointestinal Pathology, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, DC.

The opinions and assertions contained herein are the expressed views of the authors and are not to be construed as official or reflecting the views of the Departments of the Army or Defense.

Reprints: Markku Miettinen, MD, Department of Soft Tissue Pathology, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, 6825 16th Street N.W., Bldg. 54, Rm. G090, Washington, DC 20306-6000 (e-mail:

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.