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Cancer. 2004 Aug 1;101(3):518-26.

Adenocarcinoma of the small bowel: presentation, prognostic factors, and outcome of 217 patients.

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Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.



Primary adenocarcinoma of the small bowel is a rare neoplasm, and to the authors' knowledge, few studies to date have addressed the topic.


In the current study, the records of 217 patients with small bowel adenocarcinoma were reviewed retrospectively for the presentation, prognostic factors, treatment modalities, and outcome.


The median age of the patients was 55 years and there were 133 (61%) males. Tumors originated in the duodenum in 113 (52%) patients, the jejunum in 54 (25%) patients, the ileum in 28 (13%) patients, and in nonspecified sites in 22 (10%) patients. Patients with proximal tumors were diagnosed for the most part using endoscopy (i.e., 46 of 108 [43%]), whereas laparotomy enabled diagnosis in 16 of 28 (57%) patients with distal tumors. Based on TNM staging, 9 (4%) patients had Stage I disease, 43 (20%) patients had Stage II disease, 86 (39%) patients had Stage III disease, and 75 (35%) patients had Stage IV disease. The liver was the most common site of metastasis in 44 (59%) patients. Cancer-directed surgery was performed in 146 (67 %) patients, including the Whipple procedure in 36 patients (17%). The median overall survival time was 20 months. The 5-year overall survival rate was 26%. Cancer-directed surgery, early-stage disease, and lymph node involvement ratio were significantly associated with overall survival by univariate analysis. However, only cancer-directed surgery and lymph node involvement ratio were independent predictors of overall survival in a multivariate analysis (adjusted rate ratio = 0.14; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 0.04-0.46; P = 0.001 and adjusted rate ratio = 0.25; 95% CI, 0.12-0.53; P < 0.001, respectively).


Performing an oncologic surgery resulted in the best outcome in patients with nonmetastatic disease. Because cancer-directed surgery is associated with high morbidity and mortality in primary centers, these patients should be referred to a tertiary center for adequate treatment.

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