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Laparoscopic resection of gastric gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) is safe and effective, irrespective of tumor size



Feasibility and long-term safety of laparoscopic removal of gastric gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) of the stomach is well established for lesions smaller than 2 cm. Our specific aim was to explore whether laparoscopic treatment is equally applicable for gastric GISTs larger than 2 cm.


Between 1997 and 2010, 31 consecutive patients presenting with a primary gastric GIST were scheduled for laparoscopic resection, irrespective of tumor size. Prerequisites for laparoscopic approach were the absence of metastases and the presence of a well-defined tumor on CT scanning without involvement of adjacent organs, the esophagogastric junction, or the pylorus of the stomach. Data were retrieved retrospectively from a prospectively collected database, including information on patient demographics, surgical procedure, complications, hospital stay, and recurrence. Diagnosis of GIST was based on microscopic analysis, including immunohistochemistry with a panel of antibodies: CD117, CD34, DOG1, S100, desmin, and smooth muscle actin.


All 31 laparoscopic resections were carried out successfully. The most common symptoms were melena, anemia, and abdominal pain. In one case we performed a laparoscopic approach for a GIST with acute bleeding. Tumor size was smaller than 2 cm in 5 patients and larger than 2 cm in 26 patients. The median tumor size was 4.4 cm (range = 0.4–11.0 cm). Median blood loss was identical in both groups (20 ml), but duration of operation (60 vs. 103 min) and duration of hospital stay (6 vs. 8 days) were lower when tumor size was less than 2 cm. Only one patient (with tumor size <2 cm) experienced a postoperative hemorrhage. After a median follow-up of 52 months, there were no recurrences or metastases.


The low morbidity rates and the long-term disease-free interval of 100% observed in our cohort indicate that laparoscopic resection is safe and effective in treating gastric GISTs, even for tumors larger than 2 cm.

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Drs. De Vogelaere, Van Loo, Peeters, Hoorens, Haentjens, and Delvaux have no commercial association that might create a conflict of interest in connection with any of the products mentioned in this article.

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Correspondence to K. De Vogelaere.

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De Vogelaere, K., Van Loo, I., Peters, O. et al. Laparoscopic resection of gastric gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) is safe and effective, irrespective of tumor size. Surg Endosc 26, 2339–2345 (2012).

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  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumor
  • GIST
  • Laparoscopy