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Eisenberg BL
Imatinib mesylate: a molecularly targeted therapy for gastrointestinal stromal tumors
Oncology (Huntingt). 2003 Nov;17(11) :1615-20; discussion 1620, 1623, 1626 passim
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Although their overall incidence is uncommon, gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) are the most frequently encountered mesenchymal tumors of the GI tract. Their pathology has been recently defined by the presence of KIT (transmembrane receptor tyrosine kinase). The majority of GISTs have c-kit gain-of-function mutations mainly in exon 11 (highly conserved juxtamembrane region) that eventuates in constitutive activation of KIT, promoting proliferation and antiapoptotic signaling. Imatinib mesylate (Gleevec) is a specific inhibitor of KIT kinase activation, and in phase II clinical trials has proven to be remarkably efficacious in heavily pretreated GIST patients with advanced disease. The molecular and genomic determinants of response/resistance patterns are the subject of ongoing studies, and adjuvant studies are also under way. The initial evaluations of imatinib provide proof of concept for the hypothesis-driven design of selective molecularly targeted therapies for solid tumor malignancies.
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