Key words Small-bowel tumors
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Background: Tumors of the small bowel are rare, accounting for about 3–6% of all gastrointestinal neoplasms. However, diagnosis and treatment are difficult and an ongoing challenge. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 54 patients with tumors of the small intestine over a period of 10 years to elucidate important factors for diagnosis, therapy and prognosis. Results: 42 patients had malignant (36 primary, 6 secondary) and 12 had benign tumors. Histologically, adenocarcinoma (33%), leiomyosarcoma (17%) and carcinoid (17%) were the most frequent malignancies found. All 12 benign lesions were either leiomyomas or adenomas. Initial symptoms were non-specific: abdominal pain in 67% and 50%, anemia in 38% and 58% and weight loss in 38% and 42% in patients with malignant and benign tumors, respectively. Upper gastrointestinal series, endoscopy, computed tomography scan and selective angiography were the most useful diagnostic tools. Resectability rate for malignant tumors was 98%; curative resection was achieved in 51%. Survival for malignant tumors has been poor: median postoperative survival was 26.9 months, the 1- and 5-year survival rates were 42.9% and 20.8%, respectively. Conclusions: These results docu-ment the need for an aggressive diagnostic work-up in these rare tumors with non-specific symptoms, as early diagnosis and radical operative therapy are important prognostic factors.
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