Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors

Gastrointestinal stromal tumors  begins in special cells in the wall of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, also called as the digestive tract. The tumors start from the early forms of special cells in the wall of the GI tract called the interstitial cells of Cajal (ICCs). ICCs are the cells of an autonomic nervous system, the part of the nervous system that regulates body processes such as digesting food. ICCs are sometimes known as the “pacemakers” of the GI tract, because they send signal to the muscles in the GI tract to contract the movement of food and liquid along. More than Half of GISTs starts in the stomach and some start from small intestine and can start anywhere along the GI tract.

Other GI tract cancers

Cancers can start anywhere in the GI tract − from the esophagus to the anus. Most GI tract cancers, including those of the esophagus, stomach, colon, and rectum, start in the gland cells that line almost the entire GI tract. The cancers that grows in these cells are called adenocarcinomas.

Cancers can also start in squamous cells, which are flat cells that line some parts of the GI tract, like the upper part of the esophagus and the end of the anus. Cancers starting in these cells are called squamous cell carcinomas.


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