Patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) who receive multiple lines of tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy have a lower health-related quality of life than other GIST patients, according to a study published in the European Journal of Cancer Care. The reason for this is not known and requires further investigation, wrote Martin Eichler, PhD, and the co-authors of the study. 

To assess the health-related quality of life of adult GIST patients, the team of researchers used the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer HRQoL questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30) among 130 people with the disease. 

They found that the mean global health-related quality of life of the patients was 63.3 out of 100 points. The most significant impacts were in emotional, social, and role functioning, as well as insomnia, fatigue, and pain.

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The researchers found no significant difference between the scores of patients who were and were not treated with TKIs. There was also no significant difference between patients who were treated curatively or palliatively. 

But patients treated with multiple lines of TKIs experienced the highest impact on their quality of life. These were mainly in the areas of physical, role, social, and cognitive functioning, fatigue, general health, and EORTC summary score. 

“GIST patients are severely restricted in their [health-related quality of life],” the researchers wrote and added that those receiving at least their second line of TKI therapy had the highest symptom load affecting their health-related quality of life.

GIST is a rare type of cancer, which usually affects middle-aged adults. TKIs have been used to treat GISTs since the early 2000s and usually lead to high response rates. However, tumors may develop resistance against TKIs, which means patients may need to be treated with multiple TKIs.


Eichler M, Pink D, Menge F, et al. Quality of life of GIST patients with and without current tyrosine kinase inhibitor treatment: cross-sectional results of a German multicentre observational study (PROSa). Eur J Cancer Care (Engl). Published online August 3, 2021. doi:10.1111/ecc.13484