Malignant tumours of the small intestine are rare. Age-standardised incidence in Europe is between 0.5-1.5 per 100 000. As the small intestine represents more than 90 % of the gastrointestinal mucosal surface, it is surprising that it gives rise to less than 2 % of gastrointestinal malignancies. The dominating histological subtypes are carcinoids and adenocarcinomas.
We used three population-based registries in Sweden to study survival, second malignant tumours, causes of death, and Crohn’s disease as a risk factor for small intestinal adenocarcinoma and carcinoid.
We evaluated tumour site, sex, age, and year of diagnosis as prognostic factors. For adenocarcinomas there was no difference in survival between duodenal and jejunal/ileal tumours. Women with jejunal/ileal adenocarcinomas showed higher probabilities of survival than men, while no such relation was found for duodenal tumours. Old age correlated with poor survival for duodenal tumours, and prognosis has improved in later years. For carcinoids, duodenal tumours had a more favourable prognosis than jejunal/ileal tumours. There was no difference in survival between sexes. Old age correlated with poor survival, and survival has improved in recent years.
Female patients with adenocarcinoma had increased risk of acquiring cancer in the genital organs and breasts, and both sexes had increased risks of second tumours in the gastrointestinal tract and skin. Men with carcinoid tumours had increased risk of prostate cancer. Both sexes had increased risk of malignant melanoma and malignancies of endocrine organs.
Patients with adenocarcinoma had increased risk of dying from malignant diseases other than the primary small intestinal cancer and from gastrointestinal disease. The cohort with carcinoid had higher than expected risk of dying from malignant disease, gastrointestinal disease, and cardiovascular disease.
Patients with Crohn’s disease had increased risk of small intestinal adenocarcinoma and carcinoid, and the risk has increased for patients diagnosed in recent years.