Primary leiomyosarcomas of the gastrointestinal tract in the post-gastrointestinal stromal tumor era

Gitika Aggarwal, Suash Sharma, Mei Zheng, Michelle D. Reid, John H Crosby, Sherman M. Chamberlain, Asha Nayak, Jeffrey R. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Most mesenchymal neoplasms of the gastrointestinal tract are currently classified as gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST). Gastrointestinal stromal tumors are diagnosed by immunopositivity for CD117, CD34, and DOG1.1, with or without molecular analyses. According to the World Health Organization classification, the diagnosis of primary leiomyosarcomas of the gastrointestinal tract is so rare that there are no significant data on demographic, clinical, or gross features of this tumor. A comprehensive literature search was performed to identify gastrointestinal leiomyosarcomas. Searches were limited to the past 12 years because definitive tools to differentiate leiomyosarcomas from GIST were introduced in the late 1990s. Cases were included only if convincing data were presented. Six cases of esophageal leiomyosarcoma and 5 cases of gastric leiomyosarcoma were confirmed. Furthermore, 26 cases of leiomyosarcoma of the small bowel, 11 cases of the colon, and 8 cases arising in the rectum were identified. Finally, 28 cases of infantile and adolescent leiomyosarcoma were reviewed. Although survival analysis is precluded by small case numbers and limited survival data availability, the trend identifies that increased size and mitotic activity portends to a worse prognosis in small bowel leiomyosarcomas. Colonic leiomyosarcomas appear to be aggressive tumors, regardless of tumor size and mitotic activity. Rectal leiomyosarcomas present as smaller tumors with favorable prognosis. Leiomyosarcomas in post-GIST era are rare tumors of the gastrointestinal tract with distinctive clinicopathologic characteristics. Owing to different treatment options, it is necessary to accurately differentiate these from GIST, using a combination of histologic appearance, presence of smooth muscle antigens, and absence of specific GIST immunomarkers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)532-540
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Diagnostic Pathology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • DOG1.1
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumor
  • KIT
  • Leiomyosarcoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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