A research team at the Sahlgrenska Academy at Göteborg University in Sweden has developed a point system for calculating risk that will help physicians determine prognoses, survival rates, and the best methods of treatment for patients suffering from GIST tumors. The findings are being published in the prestigious medical journal Cancer.
GIST is a soft tissue tumor that occurs in the abdomen but differs from gastro-intestinal cancer. Nearly two hundred Swedes are affected every year. Long-term survival rates have been low. GIST tumors can grow very large and occupy a major section of the abdomen. Some tumors weigh as much as five kilos. For many years the only method of treatment was surgery, but over the last four years it is has been possible to combine surgery with new medicinal treatment in the form of the medicine Imatinib. The medicine is administered to inhibit the growth of the tumor and to prevent the emergence of new tumors and metastases.
Of all GIST patients, 44 percent develop highly aggressive tumors that in many cases are fatal. These patients should receive priority for medicinal treatment. The new medicine Imatinib is the first drug that effectively treats patients with malignant GIST.
Ulrika Lundin | alfa
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