Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor of Stomach: A Gentle Enemy of the Surgeon. Our Experience in Confronting the Disease

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Surgical resection is considered to be the best treatment for gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), the most common mesenchymal tumor of the gastrointestinal tract. Tumor size, mitotic rate, and anatomic locations are directly related to the potential malignancy, surgical approach, oncological treatment, and recurrence rate.

Materials and Methods:

This was a retrospective study of 40 patients who underwent surgical resection of histologically or immunohistochemistry-proven GIST of the stomach at the Rabin and Kaplan Medical Center between 2004 and 2013. Tumor size, location, margin status, pathologic characteristics, surgical approach, surgical outcome, and long-term follow-up were analyzed from hospital records.


The most common presentation was upper gastrointestinal bleeding (40%), although 30% of cases were asymptomatic. A laparoscopic approach was the preferred technique whenever feasible; 85% of tumors were localized in the proximal stomach, with a median size of 5.6 cm. Most of the resected tumors revealed a low mitotic rate and thus had low-moderate risks of malignancy. All tumors were completely resected with free surgical margins. The median follow-up period was 40 months with 93% disease-free survival.


Gastric GIST is a snake in the grass and its diagnosis is often incidental to endoscopy and computed tomographic scan. The most important technical point is to avoid tumor rupture during removal.

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