Soft tissue sarcomas (STS) are rare tumours arising in mesenchymal tissues. Gastrointestinal stromal tumour (GIST) is the commonest STS and arises within the wall of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. While most GISTs occur in the stomach they do occur in all parts of the GI tract. As with other STS, it is important that GISTs are managed by expert teams, to ensure consistent and optimal treatment, as well as recruitment to clinical trials, and the ongoing accumulation of further knowledge of the disease. The development of appropriate guidance, by an experienced panel referring to the evidence available, is therefore a useful foundation on which to build progress in the field.
British Sarcoma Group guidelines for the management of GIST were initially developed by a panel of physicians experienced in the management of GIST. This current version has been updated and amended with reference to other European and US guidance. We have received input from representatives of all diagnostic and treatment disciplines as well as patient representatives. Levels of evidence and strength of recommendation gradings are those used by ESMO adapted from those published by the Infectious Disease Society of America.
The guidelines cover aetiology, genetics and underlying molecular mechanisms, diagnosis and initial investigations, staging and risk stratification, surgery, neoadjuvant and adjuvant therapy, the management of advanced disease and follow-up. The importance of mutational analysis in guiding treatment is highlighted, since this can indicate the most effective treatment and avoid administration of ineffective drugs, emphasising the need for management in specialist centres.