Microscopic Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors in Esophageal and Intestinal Surgical Resection Specimens: A Clinicopathologic, Immunohistochemical, and Molecular Study of 19 Lesions
Microscopic gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) (synonyms: sporadic interstitial cell of Cajal hyperplasia, seedling GISTs, minimal GISTs) are common incidental findings in gastroesophageal resections (9% to 35%). To our knowledge, their frequency, clinicopathologic features, and molecular pathogenesis from nongastroesophageal sites have so far not been sufficiently analyzed. We studied 19 lesions from distal esophagus (n=8), gastroesophageal junction (n=2), sigmoid colon (n=5), and vermiform appendix, cecum, rectum, and small intestine (1 each). Microscopic GISTs were detected in 0.2%, 0.1%, and 0.01% of routinely processed resection specimens from sigmoid colon, vermiform appendix, and rectum, respectively. Patients were 11 men and 8 women with a mean age of 66 years (range, 57 to 86 y). Thirteen patients had GI cancers and 5 had diverticular disease. None has a family history of GIST or features of neurofibromatosis 1. Lesions were 0.5 to 4 mm in size (mean, 1.12 mm), were all spindled and had noncircumscribed infiltrating borders. All arose in the muscularis propria and 2 were predominantly subserosal. Immunohistochemistry revealed a CD117/CD34/smooth muscle actin-negative phenotype in 18/19 lesions. Three KIT exon 11 mutations (2 point mutations and 1 deletion, all involving W557) were detected in 3/12 lesions with successful molecular analysis. In conclusion, incidental microscopic GISTs are uncommon in intestinal resections (< or =0.1%), contrasting with their gastroesophageal counterparts (> or =9%). Somatic KIT mutations are early initiating molecular events in a subset of them. The remarkable variation in the incidence of microscopic GISTs at different GI sites suggests an origin from heterogeneous subsets of interstitial cells of Cajal with varying potentials for neoplastic transformation.
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