Review and Perspectives

Virchows Archiv

, Volume 463, Issue 4, pp 481-487

First online:

GISTogram: a graphic presentation of the growing GIST complexity

  • Riccardo RicciAffiliated withDepartment of Pathology, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore Email author 
  • , Angelo Paolo Dei TosAffiliated withDepartment of Pathology, Treviso Regional Hospital
  • , Guido RindiAffiliated withDepartment of Pathology, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

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Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) are the most common mesenchymal tumors of the gastrointestinal tract. They have represented a paradigm of molecular-targeted therapies for solid tumors since the discovery of KIT mutations and KIT expression in GIST in 1998, which opened the way to the use of imatinib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor able to inhibit the growth of cells expressing KIT-mutant isoforms. Since then, accumulating evidence revealed the rather heterogeneous nature of GIST, implying possible different diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for each specific case, leading to the development of drugs alternative to imatinib. In this brief commentary, we graphically represent the historical growing of genotype and phenotype evidence on GIST since 1998 in its increasing complexity by building up a graph, which we have called “GISTogram”, that visually conveys most of GIST-characterizing features and the probability for each of them, either alone or in combination, to be observed in a single GIST case.


GIST Genotype Immunophenotype Graph