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Incidence and Mortality
Estimated new cases and deaths from small intestine cancer in the United States in 2012:
Adenocarcinoma, lymphoma, sarcoma, and carcinoid tumors account for the majority of small intestine malignancies, which, as a whole, account for only 1% to 2% of all gastrointestinal malignancies.[2,3,4,5] As in other gastrointestinal malignancies, the predominant modality of treatment is surgery when resection is possible, and cure relates to the ability to completely resect the cancer. The overall 5-year survival rate for resectable adenocarcinoma is only 20%. The 5-year survival rate for resectable leiomyosarcoma, the most common primary sarcoma of the small intestine, is approximately 50%. Carcinoid tumors of the small intestine are covered elsewhere as a separate cancer entity. (Refer to the PDQ summary on Gastrointestinal Carcinoid Tumor Treatment for more information.)
Tumors that occur in the small intestine include the following:
Approximately 25% to 50% of the primary malignant tumors in the small intestine are adenocarcinomas, and most occur in the duodenum. Small intestine carcinomas may occur synchronously or metachronously at multiple sites.
Leiomyosarcomas occur most often in the ileum.
Some 20% of malignant lesions of the small intestine are carcinoid tumors, which occur more frequently in the ileum than in the duodenum or jejunum and may be multiple.
It is uncommon to find malignant lymphoma as a solitary small intestine lesion.
Note: This Stage Information section has been updated to include information from the seventh edition (2010) of the American Joint Committee on Cancer's AJCC Cancer Staging Manual. The PDQ Adult Treatment Editorial Board, which is responsible for maintaining this summary, is currently reviewing the new staging categories to determine whether additional changes need to be made to other parts of the summary. Any necessary changes will be made as soon as possible.
The treatment sections of this summary are organized according to histopathologic type rather than stage.
Definitions of TNM
The American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) has designated staging by TNM classification to define small intestine cancer.
Standard treatment options:
Treatment options under clinical evaluation:
Current Clinical Trials
Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with small intestine adenocarcinoma. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.
General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.
Treatment options under clinical evaluation:
Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with small intestine leiomyosarcoma. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.
Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with recurrent small intestine cancer. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.
The PDQ cancer information summaries are reviewed regularly and updated as new information becomes available. This section describes the latest changes made to this summary as of the date above.
Editorial changes were made to this summary.
Purpose of This Summary
This PDQ cancer information summary for health professionals provides comprehensive, peer-reviewed, evidence-based information about the treatment of small intestine cancer. It is intended as a resource to inform and assist clinicians who care for cancer patients. It does not provide formal guidelines or recommendations for making health care decisions.
Reviewers and Updates
This summary is reviewed regularly and updated as necessary by the PDQ Adult Treatment Editorial Board, which is editorially independent of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The summary reflects an independent review of the literature and does not represent a policy statement of NCI or the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Board members review recently published articles each month to determine whether an article should:
Changes to the summaries are made through a consensus process in which Board members evaluate the strength of the evidence in the published articles and determine how the article should be included in the summary.
The lead reviewers for Small Intestine Cancer Treatment are:
Any comments or questions about the summary content should be submitted to Cancer.gov through the Web site's Contact Form. Do not contact the individual Board Members with questions or comments about the summaries. Board members will not respond to individual inquiries.
Levels of Evidence
Some of the reference citations in this summary are accompanied by a level-of-evidence designation. These designations are intended to help readers assess the strength of the evidence supporting the use of specific interventions or approaches. The PDQ Adult Treatment Editorial Board uses a formal evidence ranking system in developing its level-of-evidence designations.
Permission to Use This Summary
PDQ is a registered trademark. Although the content of PDQ documents can be used freely as text, it cannot be identified as an NCI PDQ cancer information summary unless it is presented in its entirety and is regularly updated. However, an author would be permitted to write a sentence such as "NCI's PDQ cancer information summary about breast cancer prevention states the risks succinctly: [include excerpt from the summary]."
The preferred citation for this PDQ summary is:
National Cancer Institute: PDQ® Small Intestine Cancer Treatment. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. Date last modified <MM/DD/YYYY>. Available at: http://cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/smallintestine/HealthProfessional. Accessed <MM/DD/YYYY>.
Images in this summary are used with permission of the author(s), artist, and/or publisher for use within the PDQ summaries only. Permission to use images outside the context of PDQ information must be obtained from the owner(s) and cannot be granted by the National Cancer Institute. Information about using the illustrations in this summary, along with many other cancer-related images, is available in Visuals Online, a collection of over 2,000 scientific images.
Based on the strength of the available evidence, treatment options may be described as either "standard" or "under clinical evaluation." These classifications should not be used as a basis for insurance reimbursement determinations. More information on insurance coverage is available on Cancer.gov on the Coping with Cancer: Financial, Insurance, and Legal Information page.
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For more information, U.S. residents may call the National Cancer Institute's (NCI's) Cancer Information Service toll-free at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237) Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Time. A trained Cancer Information Specialist is available to answer your questions.
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Last Revised: 2012-07-20
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