Small bowel tumours: update in diagnosis and management

Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2018 May;34(3):159-164. doi: 10.1097/MOG.0000000000000428.


Purpose of review: The aim of this study was to summarize the role of recently developed diagnostic techniques in the diagnosis and management of patients with small bowel tumours (SBTs).

Recent findings: Recent studies show that the overall SBT incidence is increasing. The introduction of small bowel dedicated diagnostic tools [i.e. capsule endoscopy, device-assisted enteroscopy (DAE), computed tomography (CT) and MRI-enterography] might partially explain this trend. In patients with SBT, DAE might represent an ideal tool by coupling careful mucosal inspection with sampling capability. Unfortunately, DAE is an invasive procedure and seldom allows complete small bowel evaluation in a single setting. Therefore, DAE is more often used in clinical practice as confirmatory tool, when other less invasive and readily available tests (i.e. capsule endoscopy or radiological tests) identify relevant findings. Nevertheless, in patients with SBT, capsule endoscopy is burdened by an increased risk of capsule retention and/or missing proximal small bowel lesions, whereas dedicated cross-sectional imaging techniques often identify nonspecific findings of limited clinical significance.

Summary: Despite recent technical improvements, in patients with SBT, the result of a single diagnostic procedure is often insufficient to provide a definite diagnosis. A balanced combination of different tests allows reaching a final diagnosis and drive further management.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Intestinal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Intestinal Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Intestinal Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Intestine, Small* / diagnostic imaging