Treating KIT+ GIST
Surgery is the standard treatment for most patients diagnosed with KIT+ GIST.
Even after surgery, KIT+ GIST still has the potential to become malignant. Additional treatment with GLEEVEC after surgery (called adjuvant therapy) may lower the risk of tumor recurrence. Results from the Scandinavian Sarcoma Group (SSG XVIII/AIO or SSG) trial showed that extending adjuvant treatment in this patient group with GLEEVEC for KIT+ GIST helped prevent the disease from returning and improved patient survival compared with patients who received adjuvant treatment for a shorter period of time. View study details. Some patients who continued adjuvant treatment for 36 months after surgery decreased the risk of KIT+ GIST recurrence by more than half (54%) compared with patients treated for only 12 months (median follow-up at 42 months). Click here for more information and talk to your doctor about what length of 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 returned as appropriate depending on the initial severity of the event.
If the KIT+ GIST tumor cannot be removed or has spread, GLEEVEC therapy may be appropriate. Read more
GLEEVEC is a type of medication known as a kinase inhibitor. GLEEVEC targets several receptor tyrosine kinases, including those for c-KIT, Bcr-Abl, platelet-derived growth factor, and stem cell factor—preventing or inhibiting activation. The KIT protein on the surface of cells is the suspected cause of most GISTs. When studied in vitro (in an environment outside of a living organism), GLEEVEC works by inhibiting, or turning off, the signal from the KIT protein, so most of the cancerous cells stop growing.
Cytopenias (reduction or lack of certain cell elements in blood circulation) have occurred. Your doctor will test your blood weekly for the first month, biweekly for the second month, and periodically thereafter. In most cases, your doctor will reduce or interrupt your GLEEVEC therapy; in rare cases, if the cytopenia is severe, your doctor may discontinue treatment.
- GLEEVEC® (imatinib mesylate) tablets are indicated for the treatment of patients with KIT (CD117)-positive gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) that are cancerous, cannot be surgically removed, and/or have spread to other parts of the body
- GLEEVEC is also approved for use after surgery in patients that have had their KIT (CD117)-positive GISTs completely removed