Clinical, pathologic, and immunohistochemical characteristics of gastrointestinal stromal tumors of the colon and rectum: Implications for surgical management and adjuvant therapies

Imran Hassan, Y. Nancy You, Eric Dozois, Roman Shayyan, Thomas Christopher Smyrk, Scott Heitaka Okuno, John H. Donohue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

61 Scopus citations


INTRODUCTION: This study was designed to review the clinical characteristics of surgically treated gastrointestinal stromal tumors of the colon and rectum, evaluate their immunohistochemical and pathologic features based on the current National Institutes of Health criteria, and correlate clinicopathologic findings with the subsequent clinical course. METHODS: Patient and disease characteristics at presentation, pathologic features, surgical management, and clinical outcomes of 18 patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumors (4 colon and 14 rectum) diagnosed and primarily treated at our institution between 1979 and 2004 were evaluated. RESULTS: Tumors were classified on basis of size and mitotic rate according to current National Institutes of Health recommendations: 67 percent (n = 12) were high-risk, 5 percent (n = 1) were intermediate-risk, 17 percent (n = 3) were low-risk, and 11 percent (n = 2) were very low-risk gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Fifteen of 18 tumors were KIT-positive. The three KIT-negative tumors were platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha positive. All patients with colonic gastrointestinal stromal tumors (n = 4) underwent segmental resection, whereas patients with rectal gastrointestinal stromal tumors had local excision (n = 5) or radical resection (n = 9). Sixty-six percent (8/12) of patients with high-risk colorectal gastrointestinal stromal tumors developed metastases. None of the patients (n = 6) with intermediate-risk, low-risk, or very low-risk gastrointestinal stromal tumors died of their disease after a median follow-up of 65 (range, 15-266) months. CONCLUSIONS: The majority of gastrointestinal stromal tumors of the colon and rectum are high-risk. Patients with high-risk colorectal gastrointestinal stromal tumors have a significant likelihood of developing metastases that is associated with poor prognosis. These patients need to be closely followed for an extended period and should be considered for adjuvant therapy with tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)609-615
Number of pages7
JournalDiseases of the Colon and Rectum
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2006



  • Colon
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumors
  • KIT
  • Rectum
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

Cite this