Introduction: The diagnosis and treatment of gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) has emerged as a paradigm for modern cancer treatment (‘precision medicine’), as it highlights the importance of matching molecular defects with specific therapies. Over the past two decades, the molecular classification and diagnostic work up of GIST has been radically transformed, accompanied by the development of molecular therapies for specific subgroups of GIST. This review summarizes the developments in the field of molecular diagnosis of GIST, particularly as they relate to optimizing medical therapy. Areas covered: Based on an extensive literature search of the molecular and clinical aspects of GIST, the authors review the most important developments in this field with an emphasis on the differential diagnosis of GIST including mutation testing, therapeutic implications of each molecular subtype, and emerging technologies relevant to the field. Expert commentary: The use of molecular diagnostics to classify GIST has been shown to be successful in optimizing patient treatment, but these methods remain under-utilized. In order to facilitate efficient and comprehensive molecular testing, the authors have developed a decision tree to aid clinicians.
- Gastrointestinal stromal tumors
- receptor tyrosine kinases
- RTK translocations
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Molecular Medicine
- Molecular Biology