Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) are a type of cancer that starts in the digestive tract and typically occurs in the small intestine and stomach. This form of tumor is hypothesized to develop from specific cells present in the gastrointestinal system known as interstitial cells of Cajal (ICCs) or their predecessors. People who are affected may get one or even more tumors. Furthermore, GISTs may occur at any age, although they are most prevalent in adults and uncommon in youngsters.

The causes for the majority of GISTs are unknown. However, few are believed to be produced by genes that the offspring get from their parents.


Small gastrointestinal stromal tumors may not produce symptoms and may develop so slowly that they present no difficulties at first. As a GIST expands, it may have symptoms such as:

  • Bleeding in the digestive tract that causes dark-colored feces
  • Feeling satisfied even if you consume a modest quantity of food
  • Not feeling hungry when you should be
  • Cramping or any abdominal discomfort after eating
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • A feeling of growth in your abdomen
  • Abdominal pain


To diagnose gastrointestinal stromal tumors, your doctor may first question your symptoms and general health. They might also examine you for growth in your abdomen. If your symptoms point to a GIST, you will require additional testing to locate the tumor, which could include:

  • Lab testings on biopsies
  • Fine-needle aspiration biopsy
  • Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)
  • Upper endoscopy
  • Imaging tests


Targeted therapy and surgery are used to address gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Which treatments are appropriate for your circumstances determines how you will be treated.

  • Surgery. The surgery’s objective is to eliminate all of the GIST. It is frequently used as the first therapy for GISTs that have not progressed to other body regions. Surgery may be avoided if your tumor becomes too big or invades neighboring systems.
  • Targeted Drug Therapy. Targeted drug therapies target particular compounds found in cancer cells. Cancer cells can be eliminated by certain medication therapies that impede these substances. The target of these medications for GISTs is an enzyme known as tyrosine kinase, which aids cancer cell growth.

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