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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors

Other Names for this Disease
  • Gastrointestinal Stromal Sarcoma
  • GIST
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What are gastrointestinal stromal tumors?

How might gastrointestinal stromal tumors be treated?

What are gastrointestinal stromal tumors?

Gastrointestinal stromal tumors are a type of soft tissue sarcoma (tumor) that usually begins in cells in the wall of the stomach, intestines, or rectum. These tumors may be noncancerous or cancerous. They can affect adults, adolescents, or children.  It is estimated that around 5,000 new cases of gastrointestinal stromal tumors are diagnosed in the United States each year.
Last updated: 4/27/2010

How might gastrointestinal stromal tumors be treated?

For patients with primary, localized gastrointestinal stromal tumors, surgery with complete excision is the treatment of choice.[1] However, surgery has limited efficacy in the treatment of recurrent and metastatic gastrointestinal stromal tumors. These tumors are also resistant to both chemotherapy and radiotherapy. In the pre-imatinib era, the 5-year survival rate after the surgical resection of gastrointestinal stromal tumors was only 43%–80% as there was really no efficient method to cure the disease.[2] The addition of imatinib as part of the treatment of unresectable or recurrent gastrointestinal stromal tumors has improved the management of this condition and resulted in improved patient survival.[1][2]

Last updated: 4/27/2010

  1. Choi WH, Kim S, Hyung WJ, et al.. Yonsei Med J. June 30, 2009; Accessed 4/27/2010.
  2. Cao H, Zhang Y, Wang M, et al.. Chinese Medical Journal. 2010; Accessed 4/27/2010.
  3. General Information About Adult Soft Tissue Sarcoma. National Cancer Institute. September 10, 2009; Accessed 4/27/2010.