Gastrointestinal stromal tumors of the upper GI tract: population-based analysis of epidemiology, treatment and outcome based on data from the German Clinical Cancer Registry Group

Thaer S.A. Abdalla*, Lina Pieper, Markus Kist, Michael Thomaschewski, Monika Klinkhammer-Schalke, Sylke Ruth Zeissig, Kees Kleihues van Tol, Ulrich Friedrich Wellner, Tobias Keck, Richard Hummel*

*Corresponding author for this work
2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) are rare mesenchymal tumors. They are most frequently located in the stomach but are also found in the esophagus and the gastroesophageal junction (GEJ). Information regarding the prognostic factors associated with upper gastrointestinal GIST is still scarse. Methods: In this study, datasets provided by the German Clinical Cancer Registry Group, including a total of 93,069 patients with malignant tumors in the upper GI tract (C15, C16) between 2000 and 2016 were analyzed to investigate clinical outcomes of GIST in the entire upper GI tract. Results: We identified 1361 patients with GIST of the upper GI tract. Tumors were located in the esophagus in 37(2.7%) patients, at the GEJ in 70 (5.1%) patients, and in the stomach in 1254 (91.2%) patients. The incidence of GIST increased over time, reaching 5% of all UGI tumors in 2015. The median age was 69 years. The incidence of GIST was similar between males and females (53% vs 47%, respectively). However, the proportion of GIST in female patients increased continuously with advancing age, ranging from 34.7% (41–50 years) to 71.4% (91–100 years). Male patients were twice as likely to develop tumors in the esophagus and GEJ compared to females (3.4% vs. 1.9% and 6.7% vs. 3.4%, respectively). The median overall survival of upper gastrointestinal GIST was 129 months. The 1-year, 5-year, and 10-year OS was 93%, 79%, and 52% respectively. Nevertheless, tumors located in the esophagus and GEJ were associated with shorter OS compared to gastric GIST (130 vs. 111 months, p = 0.001). The incidence of documented distant metastasis increased with more proximal location of GIST (gastric vs. GEJ vs. esophagus: 13% vs. 16% vs. 27%) at presentation. Conclusion: GIST of the esophagus and GEJ are rare soft tissue sarcomas with increasing incidence in Germany. They are characterized by worse survival outcomes and increased risk of metastasis compared to gastric GIST.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)7461-7469
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 08.2023

Research Areas and Centers

  • Research Area: Luebeck Integrated Oncology Network (LION)
  • Centers: University Cancer Center Schleswig-Holstein (UCCSH)

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 205-14 Haematology, Oncology
  • 205-25 General and Visceral Surgery

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