Small intestine

You are here: 

Treatments for recurrent small intestine adenocarcinoma

There are no standard treatments for recurrent small intestine adenocarcinoma. Your healthcare team will suggest treatments based on your needs and work with you to develop a treatment plan. You may be offered one or a combination of the following treatments.


The most common combinations of chemotherapy drugs offered for recurrent small intestine adenocarcinoma cancer are:

  • FOLFOX – leucovorin (folinic acid), 5-fluorouracil (Adrucil, 5-FU) and oxaliplatin (Eloxatin)
  • CAPOX – capecitabine (Xeloda) and oxaliplatin
  • 5-fluorouracil and cisplatin (Platinol AQ)

If the cancer does not respond to the above drugs, you may be offered the following drugs:

  • FOLFIRI – leucovorin, 5-fluorouracil and irinotecan (Camptosar)

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy can damage the intestine, so it is rarely used to treat small intestine adenocarcinoma. External beam radiation therapy may be used to:

  • relieve symptoms of a blocked intestine (called a bowel obstruction)
  • stop bleeding from a small intestine tumour
  • treat pain where the small intestine cancer has spread, or metastasized, such as the bones


You may be offered surgery to relieve pain and other symptoms caused by a recurrent small intestine tumour. This is called palliative surgery.

The surgeon may do a surgical bypass to allow digested food and fluid to go around, or bypass, a tumour in the small intestine. In some cases, the surgeon may remove part of the tumour. Another way the surgeon can create a bypass is by putting a small tube (called a stent) through the tumour.

Surgery may also be done to open a blockage in the intestine (called a bowel obstruction) or to repair a hole in the intestine (called a bowel perforation).

Clinical trials

Very few clinical trials in Canada are open to people with small intestine adenocarcinoma because this type of cancer is so rare. Clinical trials look at new and better ways to prevent, find and treat cancer. 

Find out more about clinical trials.