Trends Cancer 2018 01 23;4(1):74-91. Epub 2017 Dec 23.
VCU Massey Cancer Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA. Electronic address:
The discovery of activated KIT mutations in gastrointestinal (GI) stromal tumors (GISTs) in 1998 triggered a sea change in our understanding of these tumors and has ushered in a new paradigm for the use of molecular genetic diagnostics to guide targeted therapies. KIT and PDGFRA mutations account for 85-90% of GISTs; subsequent genetic studies have led to the identification of mutation/epimutation of additional genes, including the succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) subunit A, B, C, and D genes. This review focuses on integrating findings from clinicopathologic, genetic, and epigenetic studies, which classify GISTs into two distinct clusters: an SDH-competent group and an SDH-deficient group. This development is important since it revolutionizes our current management of affected patients and their relatives, fundamentally, based on the GIST genotype.