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Glivec(R) is the First Adjuvant Treatment Approved in the UK to Delay Return of Gastrointestinal Cancer After Surgery
Date:5/7/2009

currence and provide reassurance to patients who live with the realities of GIST."

Glivec is now licensed to be used to treat patients at significant risk of relapse following the removal of their tumour following approval from the European Medicines Agency (EMEA). The EMEA (the body responsible for the scientific evaluation of applications for European authorisation for medicinal products) says that patients who have a low or very low risk of recurrence should not receive adjuvant treatment.(1)

What is GIST?

GIST is a type of cancer called a soft tissue sarcoma i.e. a cancer of a supportive or connective tissue in the body such as fat, muscle, blood vessels, deep skin tissues, nerves, bones and cartilage.(8) GISTs develop primarily along the gastrointestinal tract (digestive system) and often spread within the abdomen.(9)

Although the cause of GIST is unknown,(10) 75-80% of people with GIST carry KIT mutations.(11) KIT is a protein in the body that plays an important role in the growth and survival of GIST.(12) In patients with GIST, the KIT protein can mutate and become over active.(5)

The normal role of KIT is to provide the 'signal' to cells in the body to grow and divide: this signal is not given continuously but can be turned 'on' and 'off' to limit cell division and growth. However, in people with GIST, a mutation in the DNA causes KIT to be continuously activated. Left 'on' all the time, KIT signals to cells to constantly grow and divide, driving the growth of GIST.(5)

Glivec in GIST

Glivec is a type of treatment called a tyrosine kinase inhibitor.(13) It works in GIST by targeting the KIT protein, binding to it and preventing it from sending continuous signals to the cancer cells to grow and divide.(14) Glivec has been available to treat people with unresectable GIST (GIST that cannot be removed through surgery) since 2002, but currently m
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SOURCE Novartis Oncology
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