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Relationship between R1 resection, tumour rupture and recurrence in resected gastrointestinal stromal tumour. BJS 2019; 106: 419-426.

Published: 3rd December 2018

Authors: T. Hølmebakk, B. Bjerkehagen, I. Hompland, S. Stoldt, K. Boye


According to guidelines, adjuvant treatment or re‐excision should be considered after R1 resection of gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GISTs). However, the prognostic significance of R1 resection is uncertain and tumour rupture confounds its assessment. Here, the impact of positive margins was examined and related to rupture in a population‐based cohort.


Patients undergoing surgery for non‐metastatic GIST since 2000 were identified in the sarcoma database of Oslo University Hospital. Margins were coded according to the residual tumour (R) classification and tumour rupture defined according to the Oslo criteria.


Among 410 patients, there were 47 who underwent R1 resection and 52 had tumour rupture. The relative risk of R1 resection with rupture was 3·55 (95 per cent c.i. 2·09 to 6·03; P < 0·001). In patients without rupture, there was no difference in estimated 5‐year recurrence‐free survival after R0 versus R1 resection (87·6 versus 93 per cent; hazard ratio (HR) 0·71, 95 per cent c.i. 0·17 to 2·98; P = 0·638); nor was there any difference among patients with rupture (37 versus 31 per cent; HR 1·31, 0·68 to 2·54; P = 0·420). In multivariable analysis, tumour rupture but not R1 resection was independently associated with recurrence. Twenty‐four patients at very low, low or intermediate risk did not receive adjuvant imatinib after R1 resection and remained recurrence‐free.


Positive resection margins are strongly associated with tumour rupture. R1 resection does not independently influence prognosis. Adjuvant imatinib may not be justified after R1 resection in the absence of tumour rupture or other high‐risk features.

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