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Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors of the Stomach in Children and Young Adults: A Clinicopathologic, Immunohistochemical, and Molecular Genetic Study of 44 Cases With Long-Term Follow-Up and Review of the Literature

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

The American Journal of Surgical Pathology: October 2005 - Volume 29 - Issue 10 - p 1373-1381
doi: 10.1097/01.pas.0000172190.79552.8b
Original Article

Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs), specific KIT- or PDFGRA-signaling driven mesenchymal tumors, are rare in children and young adults, and their clinicopathologic and molecular genetic profile is incompletely understood. In this study, we analyzed 44 gastric GISTs occurring by the age of 21 years. There were 32 females and 12 males, youngest of whom were a 5-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl. All but 1 of 25 patients under the age of 16 were girls. The patients most commonly received medical attention because of chronic, insidious gastrointestinal bleeding with anemia, less commonly with acute GI bleeding. Only 1 patient had Carney triad with pulmonary chondroma. None of the patients had family members with GIST. The tumors measured from 1.5 to 24 cm (median, 5.6 cm). A total of 21 tumors with specified location were in the antrum and 8 were in the gastric body. Histologically, 26 tumors were composed of epithelioid cells, 12 of spindle cells, and 6 of combination thereof. Mitotic activity varied form 0 to 65/50 HPF (median, 5/50). All but one of the 24 tumors tested were KIT-positive, and 20 were CD34-positive. Eleven patients developed liver or abdominal metastases, and 6 of them died of tumor surviving 5.5 to 35.5 years (median, 16 years) after the first surgery; three of these tumors had a low mitotic activity and size <10 cm. Twenty-one patients were alive with no evidence for disease 7 to 41 years (median, 17 years) after the first surgery. None of the 13 tumors examined (7 of them 8- to 16-year-old females) had KIT exon 9, 11, 13, or 17 or PDGFRA exon 12 or 18 mutation as typically seen in adult GISTs. Gastric GISTs in children have mainly epithelioid morphology, often occur in antrum, and have a somewhat unpredictable but slow course of disease. Their pathogenesis may differ from that of adult GISTs because no KIT or PDGFRA mutations were found; connection with Carney triad seems infrequent despite demographic and histologic similarities.

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 NW, Bldg 54, Rm G090, Washington, DC 20306-6000 (e-mail:

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.