Imatinib mesylate (sold as Gleevec in the USA and Glivec elsewhere) is the first effective drug treatment for gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST cancer). The drug is manufactured by Novartis Pharmaceuticals of Basel, Switzerland and New Hanover, New Jersey. It was approved by the FDA in February 2002 for treatment of metastatic or unresectable (inoperable) gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST).  In 2008 it was FDA-approved as “adjuvant treatment” for GIST, meaning Gleevec is taken after surgical removal of a high-risk primary GIST to prevent recurrence.

Imatinib (Gleevec) is the first marketed “molecularly targeted therapy” for cancer. This means that the drug affects only those cells that express highly specific targets, in contrast to conventional cancer chemotherapies that affect all fast-growing cells in the body. The targets of imatinib in GIST patients are two growth-factor receptors named KIT and PDGFRA. The drug is also used against chronic myelogenous leukemia, a disease in which affected patients have an abnormal protein called BCR-ABL that is targeted by imatinib.

Information about imatinib treatment for GIST is divided among these subpages (click to link to page):

References and Selected Bibliography
Altered bone and mineral metabolism in patients receiving imatinib mesylate.
Berman E, Nicolaides M, Maki RG, Fleisher M, Chanel S, Scheu K, Wilson BA, Heller G, Sauter NP. N Engl J Med. 2006 May 11;354(19):2006-13. PMID: 16687713
Cardiotoxicity of the cancer therapeutic agent imatinib mesylate.
Kerkela R, Grazette L, Yacobi R, Iliescu C, Patten R, Beahm C, Walters B, Shevtsov S, Pesant S, Clubb FJ, Rosenzweig A, Salomon RN, Van Etten RA, Alroy J, Durand JB, Force T. Nat Med. 2006 Jul 23; [Epub ahead of print] PMID 16862153
KIT mutations and dose selection for imatinib in patients with advanced gastrointestinal stromal tumours.
Debiec-Rychter M, Sciot R, Le Cesne A, Schlemmer M, Hohenberger P, van Oosterom AT, Blay JY, Leyvraz S, Stul M, Casali PG, Zalcberg J, Verweij J, Van Glabbeke M, Hagemeijer A, Judson I; EORTC Soft Tissue and Bone Sarcoma Group; The Italian Sarcoma Group; Australasian GastroIntestinal Trials Group. Eur J Cancer. 2006 May;42(8):1093-103. PMID: 16624552
Update of phase I study of imatinib (STI571) in advanced soft tissue sarcomas and gastrointestinal stromal tumors: a report of the EORTC Soft Tissue and Bone Sarcoma Group.
van Oosterom AT, Judson IR, Verweij J, Stroobants S, Dumez H, Donato di Paola E, Sciot R, Van Glabbeke M, Dimitrijevic S, Nielsen OS; European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Soft Tissue and Bone Sarcoma Group. Eur J Cancer. 2002 Sep;38 Suppl 5:S83-7. PMID: 12528778
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New guidelines to evaluate the response to treatment in solid tumors. European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer, National Cancer Institute of the United States, National Cancer Institute of Canada.
Therasse P, Arbuck SG, Eisenhauer EA, Wanders J, Kaplan RS, Rubinstein L, Verweij J, Van Glabbeke M, van Oosterom AT, Christian MC, Gwyther SG. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2000 Feb 2;92(3):205-16. PMID: 10655437
Is there a role for surgery in patients with “unresectable” cKIT+ gastrointestinal stromal tumors treated with imatinib mesylate?
Scaife CL, Hunt KK, Patel SR, Benjamin RS, Burgess MA, Chen LL, Trent J, Raymond AK, Cormier JN, Pisters PW, Pollock RE, Feig BW. Am J Surg. 2003 Dec;186(6):665-9. PMID: 14672776
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Effects of imatinib mesylate (STI571, Glivec) on the pharmacokinetics of simvastatin, a cytochrome p450 3A4 substrate, in patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia.
O’Brien SG, Meinhardt P, Bond E, Beck J, Peng B, Dutreix C, Mehring G, Milosavljev S, Huber C, Capdeville R, Fischer T. Br J Cancer. 2003 Nov 17;89(10):1855-9. PMID: 14612892
Severe hepatic injury caused by imatinib mesylate administered for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia and the efficacy of prednisolone for its management.
Ikuta K, Torimoto Y, Jimbo J, Inamura J, Shindo M, Sato K, Tokusashi Y, Miyokawa N, Kohgo Y. Int J Hematol. 2005 Nov;82(4):343-6. PMID: 16298828
Indications for imatinib mesylate therapy and clinical management.
Guilhot F. Oncologist. 2004;9(3):271-81. Review. PMID: 15169982
Nursing implications of imatinib as molecularly targeted therapy for
Griffin JM, Amand MS, Demetri GD. Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2005 Apr;9(2):161-9. Review. PMID: 15853160
Efficacy and safety of imatinib mesylate in advanced gastrointestinal stromal
Demetri GD, von Mehren M, Blanke CD, Van den Abbeele AD, Eisenberg B, Roberts PJ, Heinrich MC, Tuveson DA, Singer S, Janicek M, Fletcher JA, Silverman SG, Silberman SL, Capdeville R, Kiese B, Peng B, Dimitrijevic S, Druker BJ, Corless C, Fletcher CD, Joensuu H. N Engl J Med. 2002 Aug 15;347(7):472-80. PMID: 12181401
Imatinib and gastrointestinal stromal tumors: Where do we go from here?
De Giorgi U, Verweij J. Mol Cancer Ther. 2005 Mar;4(3):495-501. Review. PMID: 15767559
Biology of gastrointestinal stromal tumors.
Corless CL, Fletcher JA, Heinrich MC. J Clin Oncol. 2004 Sep 15;22(18):3813-25. PMID: 15365079
PDGFRA mutations in gastrointestinal stromal tumors: frequency, spectrum and in vitro sensitivity to imatinib.
Corless CL, Schroeder A, Griffith D, Town A, McGreevey L, Harrell P, Shiraga S, Bainbridge T, Morich J, Heinrich MC. J Clin Oncol. 2005 Aug 10;23(23):5357-64. Epub 2005 May 31. Review.PMID: 15928335
CT evaluation of the response of gastrointestinal stromal tumors after imatinib mesylate treatment: a quantitative analysis correlated with FDG PET findings.
Choi H, Charnsangavej C, de Castro Faria S, Tamm EP, Benjamin RS, Johnson MM, Macapinlac HA, Podoloff DA. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2004 Dec;183(6):1619-28. PMID: 15547201
Consensus meeting for the management of gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Report of the GIST Consensus Conference of 20-21 March 2004, under the auspices of ESMO.
Blay JY, Bonvalot S, Casali P, Choi H, Debiec-Richter M, Dei Tos AP, Emile JF, Gronchi A, Hogendoorn PC, Joensuu H, Le Cesne A, McClure J, Maurel J, Nupponen N, Ray-Coquard I, Reichardt P, Sciot R, Stroobants S, van Glabbeke M, van Oosterom A, Demetri GD; GIST consensus meeting panelists. Ann Oncol. 2005 Apr;16(4):566-78. Review. Erratum in: Ann Oncol. 2005 Jun;16(6):993. Mac Clure, J [corrected to McClure, J]. PMID: 15781488
State-of-the art therapy for gastrointestinal stromal tumors.
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Low dose versus high dose imatinib for gastrointestinal stromal tumors.
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Management of gastrointestinal stromal tumors in the imatinib era: selected case studies.
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Resection of residual disease in patients with metastatic gastrointestinal stromal tumor.
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Ungrouped links
Imatinib does not induce cardiac left ventricular failure in gastrointestinal stromal tumours patients: Analyis of EORTC-ISG-AGITG study 62005.
Verweij J, Casali PG, Kotasek D, Le Cesne A, Reichard P, Judson IR, Issels R, van Oosterom AT, Van Glabbeke M, Blay JY. Eur J Cancer. 2007 Mar 1; [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 17336514