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Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors: The Role of the Gastroenterologist in Diagnosis and Risk Stratification

Faigel, Douglas O. MD, FACG, FASGE, AGAF*; Abulhawa, Susan PhD

Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology: September 2012 - Volume 46 - Issue 8 - p 629–636
doi: 10.1097/MCG.0b013e3182548f6c
Clinical Reviews

Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) are mesenchymal tumors that are best classified as sarcomas with variable aggressiveness. They are typically treated with surgical resection and adjuvant tyrosine kinase inhibitors or, for advanced/metastatic GISTs, with tyrosine kinase inhibitors alone. Gastroenterologists are often the first to detect GISTs and are, therefore, tasked with diagnosis and facilitation of early intervention. Diagnostic tools including various imaging techniques such as endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) and EUS-assisted tissue sampling are critical for an accurate diagnosis. In the case of small tumors, EUS-assisted resection or ligation techniques to treat asymptomatic small tumors have been described. This paper reviews current evidence for the diagnosis and management of GISTs, with an emphasis on the role of the gastroenterologist.

*Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ

Evidence Scientific Solutions, Philadelphia, PA

S.A. is a professional medical writer whose editorial support was contracted by Novartis to assist with the preparation of this manuscript. D.O.F. declares that there is nothing to disclose.

This manuscript represents an original and valid work for which D.O.F. was the primary author. D.O.F. conceived of the content and structure of this manuscript, participated sufficiently in acquisition of data and references, made all clinical interpretations and commentary, revised it critically at all stages of development, supervised all editorial assistance, and approved the final draft. S.A.’s participation as an author included assistance with literature searches, writing of the first draft, and editing in collaboration with D.O.F. thereafter.

Reprints: Douglas O. Faigel, MD, FACG, FASGE, AGAF, Mayo Clinic, 13400 E. Shea Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85259 (e-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.