Update on imatinib for gastrointestinal stromal tumors: duration of treatment
Mark Linch,1,2 Jeroen Claus,2 Charlotte Benson1
1Sarcoma Unit, Royal Marsden Hospital, 2Protein Phosphorylation Laboratory, Cancer Research UK London Research Institute, London, United Kingdom
Abstract: Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) are the most common sarcoma of the gastrointestinal tract, with transformation typically driven by activating mutations of c-KIT and less commonly platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha (PDGFRA). Successful targeting of c-KIT and PDGFRA with imatinib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI), has had a major impact in advanced GIST and as an adjuvant and neoadjuvant treatment. If treatment with imatinib fails, further lines of TKI therapy have a role, but disease response is usually only measured in months, so strategies to maximize the benefit from imatinib are paramount. Here, we provide an overview of the structure and signaling of c-KIT coupled with a review of the clinical trials of imatinib in GIST. In doing so, we make recommendations about the duration of imatinib therapy and suggest how best to utilize imatinib in order to improve patient outcomes in the future.
Keywords: adjuvant, c-KIT, mutations, resistance, treatment, gastrointestinal stromal tumors, imatinib