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Gain-of-Function Mutations of Receptor Tyrosine Kinases in Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors

[ Vol. 7 , Issue. 8 ]


K. Isozaki and S. Hirota   Pages 469 - 475 ( 7 )


Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) are the most common mesenchymal tumors in human gastrointestinal tract. We first found that most GISTs expressed KIT, a receptor tyrosine kinase encoded by protooncogene c-kit and that approximately 90% of the sporadic GISTs had somatic gain-of-function mutations of the c-kit gene. Since both GISTs and interstitial cells of Cajal (ICCs) were double-positive for KIT and CD34, GISTs were considered to originate from ICCs or their precursor cells. We also found that germline gain-of-function mutations of the c-kit gene resulted in familial and multiple GISTs with diffuse hyperplasia of ICCs as the preexisting lesion. Moreover, we found that about half of the sporadic GISTs without c-kit gene mutations had gain-of-function mutations of platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha (PDGFRA) gene that encodes another receptor tyrosine kinase. Imatinib which is known to inhibit constitutively activated BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase in chronic myelogenous leukemia also inhibits constitutive activation of mutated KIT and PDGFRA, and is now being used for metastatic or unresectable GISTs as a molecular target drug. Mutational analyses of c-kit and PDGFRA genes are considered to be significant for prediction of effectiveness of imatinib and newly developed/ developing other agents on GISTs. Some mouse models of familial and multiple GISTs have been genetically created, and may be useful for further investigation of GIST biology.


Gastrointestinal stromal tumors, gain-of-function mutation, c-kit gene, PDGFRA gene, molecular target therapy


Department of Surgical Pathology,Hyogo College of Medicine, 1-1 Mukogawa-cho, Nishinomiya,Hyogo 663-8501, Japan.

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