Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) are the most common mesenchymal neoplasms in the gastrointestinal tract, which, over the last 10 years, have emerged from a poorly understood neoplasm to a well-defined tumor entity exhibiting particular molecular abnormalities and for which promising novel treatment modalities have been developed. GISTs probably arise from the precursor cell of the interstitial cell of Cajal, express KIT tyrosine kinase in most of the cases and harbor mutations of importance for individualized treatment. The molecular targets for therapeutic interventions are not only of importance for the treatment of GIST patients but also useful for in the development of novel drug modalities and new strategies in basic cancer therapy.
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