Background: Factors influencing long-term survival in patients undergoing operation for adenocarcinoma of the small intestine are poorly recognized.
Methods: Retrospective study of 100 cases culled within a 10-year period by questionnaire, including 59 males and 41 females, median age 61 years (range 30 to 86). No patients were lost to follow-up (median 27 months). All patients underwent operation: curative in 65% and palliative in 35%.
Results: Overall actuarial 5-year survival was 38%, 0% after palliative treatment and 54% after curative resection. In patients undergoing curative resection, 5-year survival was 63% when the lymph nodes were not involved, and 52% when they were; 57% when the serosa was not involved, and 53% when it was; 56% when the tumor was well or moderately well differentiated and 40% when it was undifferentiated. Other factors influencing long-term survival were the emergency setting, the site, the multiplicity, and the size of tumor (none with statistically significant differences). Five and 10-year survival was 78% and 69%, respectively, when the patient was anemic compared with 35% and 17%, respectively when the patient was not (P <0.01). There were 14 patients with previous carcinoma, 2 with Crohn's disease, and 1 each with celiac disease and ileal tuberculosis. There were also 8 patients with associated duodenal and proximal jejunal polyps. Thirteen patients sustained a total of 14 further cancers.
Conclusions: Patients should be followed up closely because the possibility of sustaining another abdominal carcinoma is high (16%). As associated polyps are nearly always duodenal or jejunal, preoperative or intraoperative endoscopy of the upper gastrointestinal tract including the initial portion of the jejunum should be able to detect their presence and reduce the risk of early recurrence.