Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) in adolescence are far less common than adult GISTs and have varied GIST genotypes that present diagnostic and therapeutic challenges. Here, we discuss a 21-year-old male with diagnosis of unresectable, imatinib-resistant GIST. At initial evaluation, a neoadjuvant treatment approach was recommended. As such, the patient received imatinib over the course of one year. Unfortunately, the GIST increased in size, and a subsequent attempt at surgical resection was aborted fearing infiltration of major vascular structures. The patient was then referred to our institution, at which time imatinib therapy was discontinued. Surgical intervention was again considered and the patient underwent successful resection of massive intra-abdominal GIST with total gastrectomy and Roux-en-Y esophagojejunostomy. Since pediatric GISTs are typically resistant to imatinib, we performed genotype analysis of the operative specimen that revealed KIT mutations associated with imatinib sensitivity and resistance. Given the sequencing data and operative findings, the patient was started postoperatively on sunitinib. This case illustrates the importance of understanding both adult and pediatric GISTs when implementing appropriate treatment regimens. Since the genotype of GISTs dictates phenotypic behavior, mutational analysis is an important component of care especially for adolescents whose disease may mirror the pediatric or adult population.
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