Background/Aims: Gain-of-function mutations in exons 9, 11 and 13 of the c-kit gene in gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) have been identified, and it has been reported that the prognosis is worse for patients with mutation-positive GISTs than for those with mutation-negative GISTs. We studied c-kit mutations in gastrointestinal mesenchymal tumors. By chance, the c-kit mutation in exon 11 was found in myogenic and neurogenic tumors as well as in GISTs. Furthermore, we studied the clinical prognostic utility of these mutations. Methods: Ten gastrointestinal mesenchymal tumors were stained with HE and immunohistochemically analyzed with α-smooth muscle actin, S-100 protein, CD34 and c-kit. In these tumors, as well as in 11 cases of leiomyomas, PCR-amplified DNA from the juxtamembrane (JM) domain of exon 11, the extracellular domain of exon 9 and the tyrosine kinase domain 1 of exon 13 showed a high frequency of c-kit mutation and was sequenced. Results: Although c-kit mutations have previously been reported only in GISTs, we found c-kit mutations in the JM domain of exon 11 in one myogenic and one neurogenic tumor as well as in two GISTs. No c-kit mutation was seen in the 11 cases of leiomyomas. In addition, all four cases with c-kit mutation in exon 11 suffered a relapse sooner than the other cases without c-kit mutations. Conclusion: Clinically, the prognosis was worse for the patients with mutation-positive gastrointestinal mesenchymal tumors than for those with mutation-negative tumors. We therefore conclude that the gain-of-function mutation in exon 11 of the c-kit gene is an important prognostic factor for gastrointestinal mesenchymal tumors, including myogenic and neurogenic tumors as well as GISTs.

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