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Home > Health Library > Small Intestine Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI]
This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http://cancer.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
Incidence and Mortality
Estimated new cases and deaths from small intestine cancer in the United States in 2019:
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]
Follow-up and Survivorship
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: The American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) has published the 8th edition of the AJCC Cancer Staging Manual, which includes revisions to the staging for this disease. Implementation of the 8th edition began in January 2018. The PDQ Adult Treatment Editorial Board, which maintains this summary, is reviewing the revised staging and will make appropriate changes as needed.
The treatment sections of this summary are organized according to histopathologic type rather than stage.
Definitions of TNM
The AJCC has designated staging by TNM classification to define small intestine cancer.
Standard treatment options:
Treatment options under clinical evaluation:
Current Clinical Trials
Use our advanced clinical trial search to find NCI-supported cancer clinical trials that are now enrolling patients. The search can be narrowed by location of the trial, type of treatment, name of the drug, and other criteria. General information about clinical trials is also available.
Treatment options under clinical evaluation:
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.
General Information About Small Intestine Cancer
Updated statistics with estimated new cases and deaths for 2019 (cited American Cancer Society as reference 1).
This summary is written and maintained by the PDQ Adult Treatment Editorial Board, which is editorially independent of NCI. The summary reflects an independent review of the literature and does not represent a policy statement of NCI or NIH. More information about summary policies and the role of the PDQ Editorial Boards in maintaining the PDQ summaries can be found on the About This PDQ Summary and PDQ® - NCI's Comprehensive Cancer Database pages.
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 reviewer for Small Intestine Cancer Treatment is:
Any comments or questions about the summary content should be submitted to Cancer.gov through the NCI website's Email Us. 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:
PDQ® Adult Treatment Editorial Board. PDQ Small Intestine Cancer Treatment. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. Updated <MM/DD/YYYY>. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/small-intestine/hp/small-intestine-treatment-pdq. Accessed <MM/DD/YYYY>. [PMID: 26389423]
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 Managing Cancer Care page.
More information about contacting us or receiving help with the Cancer.gov website can be found on our Contact Us for Help page. Questions can also be submitted to Cancer.gov through the website's Email Us.
Last Revised: 2019-01-29
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