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Gastric gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) are rare neoplasms that require excision for cure. Although the feasibility of minimally invasive resection of gastric GIST has been established, the long-term safety and efficacy of these techniques are unclear. We hypothesized that complete resection of gastric GISTs using a combination of laparoscopic or laparoendoscopic techniques results in low perioperative morbidity and an effective long-term control of the disease.Between August 1996 and June 2005, 50 consecutive patients undergoing laparoscopic or laparoendoscopic resection of gastric GISTs were identified in a prospectively collected database. Outcome measures included patient demographics and outcomes, operative findings, morbidity, and histopathologic characteristics of the tumor. Patient and tumor characteristics were analyzed to identify risk factors for tumor recurrence.Fifty patients, mean age 60 years (range, 34–84 years), underwent 47 local and 3 segmental laparoscopic gastric resections. GI bleeding and dyspepsia were the most common symptoms. Mean tumor size was 4.4 cm (range, 1.0–8.5 cm) with the majority of the lesions located in the proximal stomach. Mean operative time was 135 minutes (range, 49–295 minutes), the mean blood loss was 85 mL (range, 10–450 mL), and the mean length of hospitalization was 3.8 days (range 1–10 days). There were no major perioperative complications or mortalities. All lesions had negative resection margins (range, 2–45 mm). Nine patients had 10 or more mitotic figures per 50 high power fields, while 11 had ulceration and/or necrosis of the lesion. At a mean follow-up of 36 months, 46 (92%) patients were disease free, 1 patient was alive with disease, 1 patient with metastases died of a cardiac event, and 2 (4%) patients died of metastatic disease. No local or port site recurrences have been identified. Patient age, tumor size, mitotic index, tumor ulceration, and necrosis were statistically associated with tumor recurrence. The presence of 10 or more mitotic figures per 50 high power fields was an independent predictor of disease progression (P = 0.006).A laparoscopic approach to surgical resection of gastric GIST is associated with low morbidity and short hospitalization. As found in historical series of open operative resection, the tumor mitotic index predicts local recurrence. The long-term disease-free survival of 92% in our study establishes laparoscopic resection as safe and effective in treating gastric GISTs. Given these findings as well as the advantages afforded by minimally invasive surgery, a laparoscopic approach may be the preferred resection technique in most patients with small- and medium-sized gastric GISTs.