The incidence of gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GISTs), generally considered a rare sarcoma, is more than three times as high as previously believed, according to data presented in Nice at the 27th annual European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress. An accurate estimate of GIST incidence has been elusive because of diagnostic ambiguities, now largely resolved by modern immunohistochemistry.
The higher incidence of GIST – calculated at 16 per 1,000,000 people annually – is especially significant because there is now an effective treatment for GIST, the oral therapy imatinib, formerly known as STI 571. The availability of an effective therapy makes it vital to accurately diagnose the disease.
The study, the first population-based examination of the incidence of GIST, was presented by a team headed by Lars-Gunnar Kindblom, MD, PhD, of Sahlgrenska Academy at Göteborg University, Sweden. The team analyzed the medical records and tissue blocks of patients seen from 1983 to 2000 and found 400 cases of true GIST. This was more than three times as many as originally diagnosed. The reanalysis relied in large part on CD 117 (Kit) immunohistochemistry, which Dr. Kindblom pioneered over the past three years. He recommended wider use of CD 117 (Kit) staining for gastrointestinal tumours. Kit receptors in these tumours are the telltale signs of GIST.
Carina Elmäng | alfa
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