The most appropriate form of GIST treatment for a patient will depend on a number of individual factors, such as the size, location and growth rate of the gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), as well as the extent to which it has spread beyond the digestive system. GISTs develop when the interstitial cells of Cajal, which line the walls of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, change and divide at an accelerated rate, resulting in an accumulation of excess cells that form a mass, or tumor. The surgical removal of a GIST may be possible and is often recommended for GISTs that are small and localized within the GI tract.
At Moffitt Cancer Center, our patients receive comprehensive GIST treatment in a single, convenient location. Our world-class patient care is overseen by a multispecialty team of experts that focuses exclusively on GI cancers. Our talented GIST team meets weekly to collaboratively create, monitor and adjust each patient’s individual treatment plan as necessary.
Some commonly recommended GIST treatment options include:
- Surgery – If surgery is possible, a GIST and any affected nearby tissue can be removed via laparoscopy or a traditional surgical procedure.
- Targeted therapy – Chemotherapy drugs may be recommended instead of or in addition to surgery and radiation therapy to destroy cancer cells or slow tumor growth and prevent recurrence. In addition to oral and systemic chemotherapy, GIST treatment may include targeted biologic therapy to attempt to stimulate the body’s natural immune system.
- Radiation therapy – High-energy X-rays are directed at a GIST to destroy the cancer cells or inhibit their growth. In addition to traditional external beam radiation therapy, Moffitt offers the latest, high-precision radiation therapy techniques, such as intensity-modulated radiation therapy, brachytherapy and Novalis radiotherapy.
- Clinical research trials – Moffitt’s Sarcoma Program and Gastrointestinal Oncology Program are credited with making landmark research discoveries in the areas of new drugs, surgical procedures, molecular therapies, immunotherapies, endoscopic techniques, risk assessment methods and diagnostic techniques. Our goal is to make the benefits of any laboratory breakthroughs available to our patients as soon as possible, and we accomplish this through our robust clinical trials program.
Another important component of any GIST treatment plan is the management of pain and other symptoms. At Moffitt, we offer our GIST patients extensive supportive care services to alleviate discomfort and enhance their quality of life.
No referrals are necessary to discuss GIST treatment options with the experienced oncologists at Moffitt, the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center based in Florida. To request an appointment, call 1-888-MOFFITT or complete a new patient registration form online.