Ten-year review of gastrointestinal stromal tumours at a tertiary referral hospital in New Zealand

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Abstract

Background:

Gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GISTs) are the most common mesenchymal tumours of the gastrointestinal tract and make up 1–2% of all gastrointestinal malignancies. Traditionally, the treatment of choice for primary disease is surgical resection; however, no single surgeon or institution gets extensive exposure to these patients so appropriate decision-making is difficult, particularly since the introduction of the tyrosine kinase inhibitor imatinib, which has become an important additional management tool.

Method:

All patients were diagnosed and treated for GISTs in Christchurch Hospital (Christchurch, New Zealand) between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2010. We maintain a prospective database of all patients with GISTs. Data on clinical and histopathological variables, management and survival outcomes were recorded. These were then reviewed.

Results:

There were 93 patients in this study. Fifty were women. Median age was 69 (interquartile range (IQR) 59–76) years. Fifty-one tumours were located in the stomach, 27 in the small bowel, six in the colon, three in the oesophagus, one in the rectum and five were extra-gastrointestinal. In total, 22 patients received imatinib therapy; four patients with metastatic disease had imatinib as sole therapy. The median follow-up was 58 (IQR 30–90) months. The 5-year overall survival and disease-free survival (DFS) for the entire study population was 69% and 64%, respectively. The 5-year DFS was higher for all patients who have localized disease when compared with those who have metastatic disease (76% versus 28%, P-value 0.001).

Conclusion:

Surgery aiming at an R0 resection remains the mainstay of treatment. We propose the most effective way to grow the knowledge base in New Zealand is the establishment of a national register, thereby allowing better clinical decision-making by interpretation of a larger data set.

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