Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs): From science to targeted therapy

R. Sarmiento, P. Bonginelli, F. Cacciamani, F. Salerno, Giampietro Gasparini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) are the most common mesenchymal tumors of the gastrointestinal tract. GISTs represent a distinct category of tumors characterized by oncogenic mutations of the KIT receptor tyrosine kinase in a majority of patients. KIT is useful not only for the diagnosis but also for targeted therapy of this disease. Imatinib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, is widely used in advanced and metastatic GISTs. This agent revolutionized the treatment strategy of advanced disease and is being tested in the neoadjuvant and adjuvant settings with encouraging results. New therapeutic agents like sunitinib have now been approved, enriching the treatment scenario for imatinib-resistant GISTs. The present review reports on the peculiar characteristics of this disease through its biology and molecular patterns, focusing on the predictive value of KIT mutations and their correlation with clinical outcome as well as on the activity of and resistance to approved targeted drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-110
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Biological Markers
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008


  • GISTs
  • Targeted therapy
  • Tyrosine kinase inhibitors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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