The Risk of KIT+ GIST Recurrence: What Determines Regrowth?
Can KIT+ GIST recur even after surgery?
There is a risk of KIT+ GIST recurring even after successful surgery. If cancer does return after surgery, it may be harder to treat. Therefore, the goal of treatment after resection is to prevent the disease from returning.
After surgery, oncologists may recommend a medication called GLEEVEC to help prevent KIT+ GIST from returning. When taken after surgery, GLEEVEC is considered adjuvant therapy. Generally, oncologists may prescribe GLEEVEC, available by prescription only, beginning several weeks after surgery.
Motor vehicle accidents involving patients receiving GLEEVEC have been reported. Patients should be advised that they may experience undesirable effects such as dizziness, blurred vision, or drowsiness during treatment with GLEEVEC. Caution should be recommended when driving a car or operating machinery.
Factors that determine the recurrence of KIT+ GIST
Recurrence of KIT+ GIST depends on a number of factors. The size of the tumor, its rate of growth, the location, tumor rupture, mucosal invasion, patient age, and medical history are all factors your doctor may consider when assessing risk. You should discuss risk of recurrence and the ways to reduce that risk the next time you meet with your doctor.
Results from the Scandinavian Sarcoma Group (SSG XVIII/AIO or SSG) trial showed that when data were collected, extending the duration of adjuvant treatment with GLEEVEC for KIT+ GIST provided a significant improvement in recurrence-free survival (RFS). View study details. Some patients who continued adjuvant treatment for 36 months decreased the risk of KIT+ GIST recurrence by more than half (54%) compared with patients treated for only 12 months. These study results were based on a 42-month median follow-up for RFS. Click here for more information and talk to your doctor about what treatment is right for you.
GLEEVEC is often associated with edema (swelling) and serious fluid retention (holding water). It is important that patients be weighed and monitored regularly for signs and symptoms of serious fluid retention or unexpected weight gain. Patients experiencing unexpected, rapid weight gain should speak to their doctor about appropriate supportive care treatment. Studies have shown that edema tended to occur more often among patients who are 65 and older or those taking higher doses of GLEEVEC. If you experience severe fluid retention, your doctor may treat you with diuretics and may stop your GLEEVEC treatment until the fluid retention has been managed. Treatment can be resumed as appropriate depending on the initial severity of the event.
If you have had surgery for KIT+ GIST, talk to your doctor about GLEEVEC therapy to help reduce your risk of recurrence.