Small bowel obstruction caused by secondary tumors

Efraim Idelevich*, Hanoch Kashtan, Eli Mavor, Baruch Brenner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Small bowel obstruction in an oncology patient is a common and serious medical problem which is associated with diagnostic as well as therapeutic dilemmas. While the condition is most commonly caused by postoperative adhesions and peritoneal carcinomatosis, other causes have been reported [Cormier WJ, Gaffey TA, Welch JM, et al. Linitis plastica caused by metastatic lobular carcinoma of the breast. Mayo Clinical Proceedings 1980;55:747-53; Clavien P-A, Laffer U, Torhos J, et al. Gastrointestinal metastases as first clinical manifestation of the dissemination of a breast cancer. European Journal of Surgical Oncology 1990;16:121-6; Bender GN, Maglinte DD, McLarney JH, et al. Malignant melanoma: patterns of metastasis to the small bowel, reliability of imaging studies, and clinical relevance. American Journal of Gastroenterology 2001;96:2392-400; Gatsoulis N, Roukounakis N, Kafetzis I, et al. Small bowel intussusception due to metastatic malignant melanoma. A case report. Technical Coloproctology 2004;8:141-3; Hung GY, Chiou T, Hsieh YL, et al. Intestinal metastasis causing intussusception in a patient treated for osteosarcoma with history of multiple metastases: a case report. Japanese Journal of Clinical Oncology 2001;31(4):165-7; Chen TF, Eardley I, Doyle PT, Bullock KN. Rectal obstruction secondary to carcinoma of the prostate treated by transanal resection of the prostate. British Journal of Urology 1992;70(6):643-7; Kamal HS, Farah RE, Hamzi HA, et al. Unusual presentation of rectal adenocarcinoma. Roman Journal of Gastroenterology 2003;12(1):47-50; Hofflander R, Beckes D, Kapre S, et al. A case of jejunal intussusception with gastrointestinal bleeding caused by metastatic testicular germ cell cancer. Digestive Surgery 1999;16(5):439-40]. One of these, reported thus far in only very few patients, is obstruction caused by secondary tumors, i.e. metastases from other organs to the small bowel wall. As cancer patients live longer with improved therapy, physicians are more likely to cope with rare phenomena of neoplasms, such as small bowel obstruction caused by secondary tumors. We hereby present a review of the relevant medical literature. The goal of this article is to define current knowledge on this phenomenon, with emphasis on its epidemiology and clinical characteristics, and to increase the awareness of the clinician treating cancer patients of such possibility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-32
Number of pages4
JournalSurgical Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Bowel
  • Obstruction
  • Secondary
  • Tumors


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