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August 5, 1974

Malignant Tumors of the Small Intestine

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pathology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis.

JAMA. 1974;229(6):700-702. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230440058040

TUMORS of the small intestine are uncommon, and account for less than 5% of all gastrointestinal neoplasms.1-3 The malignant varieties cause about 750 deaths per year in the United States.4

Malignant tumors of the small intestine are slightly more common in men than in women, with the peak age incidence in the fifth to sixth decades.5,6 Regardless of tumor type, the symptoms are similar, with intermittent epigastric or periumbilical pain, intestinal bleeding, and signs of obstruction being the most common.1,5 The nonspecificity of the symptoms, their chronic nature, and the difficulty of examining the small bowel roentgenographically, have unfortunately led to serious delays in diagnosis. The important point is that the malignant tumors are symptomatic in 90% of patients, and 75% of all symptomatic small-bowel tumors will be malignant.1,3,5 A palpable abdominal mass is found in 40% of malignant tumors, and such a finding in