Mortality Risk from Gastrointestinal Tumors Underestimated

Gastrointestinal stromal tumors result in higher mortality than originally estimated.

Certain gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) were found to be more deadly than originally thought, according to researchers.

A study published in the Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery used the SEER database to collect information from 378 patients with malignant GISTs that were less than 2 cm in size between 2001 and 2011.

The results of the study found that 30% of patients had GISTs that were less than 2 cm or slightly larger than one-half inch. More than 79% had localized disease and 11.4% had regional or distant metastatic disease.

“While GISTs are rare, we have found that certain groups of these tumors result in a much higher mortality than expected,” said researcher Jason Sicklick, MD. “The 5-year mortality rate for malignant GISTs of less than 2 centimeters is 12.1%. This finding may be helpful in creating new guidelines for the treatment of these tumors.”

Additional studies are needed to develop novel risk assessments for small tumors and to determine if surgery or therapy is more appropriate, the researchers concluded.