Gastro Intestinal Stromal Tumours – GIST

GIST is a truly game changing cancer. It has been around for centuries, misdiagnosed as other types of cancers. In the past few years, GIST has found to have special markers and thus the diagnosis is definitive. The main markers are c-kit (CD117) and DOG1

Treatment is to completely remove the tumour by surgery. This is possible while it is in an early stage. Once the cancer has spread, surgery is not possible (most times). Chemotherapy was as good as useless. Nothing seemed to work.

A few years ago, a pharmaceutical company launched a molecule called Imatinib (Glivec). This has changed everything for GIST. Now people with metastatic GIST, pop a pill a day and continue with life. Quite amazing.

Recent data has shown that even after surgery, Glivec should be given for at least 3 years.

Once Glivec stops working, there are other medications (Sunitinib) available.

Game changer. Looking for more such miracles.

– modified from my older blog

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Rohit Joshi

I am a doctor who helps people deal with cancer with diagnosis and management of the illness (chemotherapy, biological agents, immunotherapy and hormonal agents).

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