Alianza GIST, in partnership with the Life Raft Group, The Max Foundation, and Tecnológico de Monterrey hosted an event for Latin American physicians on Sunday June 5th at the American Society of Clinical Oncology conference (ASCO). The meeting drew physicians from many countries as they discussed best practices in Latin America for GIST and convened a Tumor Board with case discussions. Panelists included Dr. Matías Chacón, Instituto Alexander Fleming (Buenos Aires, Argentina); Dr. Christopher Corless, Oregon Health and Science University (Portland, Oregon); Dr. Eduardo Guzmán, Tecnológico de Monterrey (Monterrey, Mexico); and Dr. Jonathan Trent, MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston, Texas).
A presentation was made by Rodrigo Salas, President of Fundación GIST México, about a new CME accredited training course available in Spanish through Tecnológico de Monterrey. The goal is for physicians from across Latin America to take this educational course to improve their knowledge of treating and managing GIST. For more information, visit http://www.fundaciongist.org.
Both Dr. Chacón and Dr. Guzmán presented challenging GIST cases for discussion. Misdiagnosis was one key issue and a lengthy dialogue followed regarding ways to optimize this process. The highlighted case underscored the necessity to work with pathologists that see many GIST patients.
Causes and possible solutions for progressive disease were also discussed for another case, with many panelists emphasizing the importance of genotyping as a predictor of how GIST tumors respond to drug therapy. The Life Raft Group is able to provide free mutational testing for GIST patients in Latin America through it’s Tissue Bank program.
Cases such as the ones that Dr. Chacón and Dr. Guzmán presented are not rare in Latin America, nor are they in other parts of the world. These problems reach global dimensions and many issues need to be addressed such as
• Incorrect Diagnosis
• Poor Clinical Trial Availability
• Lack of Mutational Testing
• Poor Access to Safe, Effective, and Affordable Treatment
This forum was an important start to closing the information gap among the medical community and increasing the index of suspicion among those that see GIST patients. The tumor board sets a precedent for establishing a more formal structure of physicians to continue the dialogue about regional and global issues that affect patients in Latin America.