GIST suture-line recurrence at a gastrojejunal anastomosis 8 years after gastrectomy: can GIST ever be described as truly benign? A case report.

We present the case of a 71 year old man with recurrence of a Gastro Intestinal Stromal Tumour (GIST) at the gastrojejunal anastomosis eight years following partial gastrectomy for a very small primary gastric GIST. He presented acutely on both occasions with haemodynamic shock secondary to massive haematemesis. During his initial presentation in 2001, an emergency laparotomy was performed, demonstrating a pre-pyloric ulcerative lesion. The histopathology was in keeping with a diagnosis of a gastric GIST with a <2 cm tumour, with <5 mitosis per 50/HPF, no signs of necrosis and invasion limited to the mucosa. Eight years later the same patient presented with a similar clinical picture of haemodynamic instability secondary to haematemesis. Emergency endoscopy showed an irregularly shaped elevated lesion on the gastrojejunostomy line suggestive of recurrence. He subsequently underwent completion gastrectomy and the histology revealed a 0.8 cm GIST tumour composed of spindle cells with <5 mitosis per 50/HPF, tumor invasion into the submucosa and positive expression of c-kit and SMA. The patient remains recurrence free 18 months post surgery. The literature suggests that tumour size, mitotic rate and tumour site are the most important predictive factors of recurrence. Additional features such as the presence of necrosis, local tumour invasion and positive resection margins, can also influence recurrence rates. In this case the lesion was a gastric GIST, very small (<2 cm), had low proliferation rate (<5 mitosis/HPF), lacked necrosis and was limited to the mucosa. Recurrence of such a primary GIST at the anastomotic line, eight years after initial resection has never been demonstrated among review of several thousand primary GISTs. This case highlights how even the most innocent GISTs can never be described as truly benign.

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