Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor - GIST: Latest Research

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 03/2017

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about the scientific research being done now to learn more about this type of tumor and how to treat it. Use the menu to see other pages.

Doctors are working to learn more about how to best treat a GIST and provide the best care to people diagnosed with GIST. The following areas of research may include new options for patients through clinical trials. Always talk with your doctor about the best diagnostic and treatment options for you.

  • New drugs. Research continues to find new drugs for the treatment of GIST, particularly new targeted therapies. Several different drugs that target proteins that help tumor cells survive have recently been or are being researched. Drugs that affect tumor blood supply are also being studied to treat GIST. Treatments working through the immune system, called immunotherapy, are also of interest in GIST.

  • Post-operative treatment length. The best length of time to continue imatinib treatment after surgery is unknown. Doctors are evaluating a recently completed clinical trial to find out whether 5 years of post-operative imatinib leads to better results rather than 3 years of imatinib.

  • Palliative care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of current GIST treatments to improve patients’ comfort and quality of life.

Looking for More About the Latest Research?

If you would like additional information about the latest areas of research regarding GIST, explore these related items that take you outside of this guide:

The next section in this guide is Coping with Treatment. It offers some guidance in how to cope with the physical, emotional, and social changes that cancer and its treatment can bring. You may use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.