Imatinib is an oral chemotherapy medication used to treat different types of cancer: gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), certain types of acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), mastocytosis and sarcoma of mast cells.
The drug belongs to the family of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) and acts by impairing the signal transduction pathways, inhibiting cellular proliferation and inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death).
In GIST (gastrointestinal stromal tumors) imatinib is proposed as an option for those patients with a substantial risk of relapse. Unresectable metastatic or recurrent GIST can be treated with imatinib, with a remarkable response rate (50–70%) and prolonged survival.
However, there are several mutations that make tumors resistant to imatinib, such as the presence of the mutation D816V in the KIT gene. These differences in the response depending on the mutational status make advisable genotyping patients with the aim to select the optimum treatment.
Gene or region studied