Asian consensus guidelines for gastrointestinal stromal tumor: what is the same and what is different from global guidelines
There are some disparities between the clinical practice and profiles of cancer in Asia and those in Europe & North America. In Asia, surgical oncologists still have a major role in the multidisciplinary therapy of gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), whereas medical oncologists hold this status in the West. Although the incidence of clinical GIST is considered similar between the two areas, small gastric GISTs are more frequently treated by surgery in East Asia compared with Europe & North America. The diagnosis and treatment of small submucosal tumors (SMTs), including GIST, is important in Asian clinical practice guidelines for GIST. Most items of Asian and Western GIST guidelines are very similar. There are slight differences between the two guidelines in the degree of recommendation, which may come from disparities of clinical practice and available medicines. Importantly, most clinical evidence in the GIST guidelines has been established by clinical trials conducted in Western countries, and the number of clinical trials is still limited in Asia, suggesting that Asian GIST patients may have limited access to investigational drugs after standard therapy. Finally, both Asian and Western GIST guidelines are well-harmonized in some parts, and their contents may reflect the medical circumstances of each region.