Research in small intestine cancer

We are always learning more about cancer. Researchers and healthcare professionals use what they learn from research studies to develop better ways to treat small intestine cancer. The following is a selection of research showing promise for treating small intestine cancer.

We’ve included information from the following sources. Each item has an identity number that links to a brief overview (abstract).

  • PubMed, US National Library of Medicine (PMID)
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)
  • (NCT)


The following is noteworthy research in chemotherapy for small intestine cancer.

Taxane chemotherapy drugs may be effective in treating advanced small intestine cancer, based on early studies. More research is needed to learn how taxane chemotherapy drugs may be used to treat advanced small intestine cancer (ASCO, Abstract e16263).

Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy gives heated chemotherapy drugs directly into the peritoneal cavity in the abdomen. Researchers studied this treatment in people who had surgery to remove as much small intestine cancer as possible (called cytoreductive surgery). After surgery, they were given hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy to treat any cancer that remained. Researchers found that the length of time that people were expected to survive increased and that hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy could be a treatment option for small intestine cancer that has spread to the peritoneal cavity (Annals of Surgical Oncology, PMID 26717938). This treatment may also be more effective than chemotherapy that travels throughout the blood stream (called systemic chemotherapy) alone (International Journal of Hyperthermia, PMID 27919181).

Chemotherapy after surgery (called adjuvant chemotherapy) may be a treatment option for small intestine cancer. But the effectiveness of chemotherapy after surgery is still unknown. Researchers compared a group of people who received adjuvant chemotherapy to a group that did not. Results show that adjuvant chemotherapy significantly improved survival in people with stage 3 small intestine cancer (Cancer, PMID 26717303). Another study is looking at the role of adjuvant chemotherapy for stage 1, 2 and 3 small intestine cancer (National Cancer Trials, NCT 02502370). More research is needed to learn how adjuvant chemotherapy may be used with stage 1 and 2 small intestine cancer.

Adding a targeted therapy drugcalled bevacizumab (Avastin) may make combination chemotherapy more effective in treating small intestine cancer that has spread to other parts of the body (called metastatic small intestine cancer). One study compared people who were given bevacizumab with either FOLFOX6 or FOLFIRI chemotherapy combinations to people who were given FOLFOX6 or FOLFIRI alone (Clinical Colorectal Cancer, PMID 27247089). Another study combined bevacizumab with capecitabine (Xeloda) and oxaliplatin (Eloxatin) to treat advanced small intestine cancer (ASCO, Abstract 144). Both studies found that these combinations of drugs were safe, didn’t cause severe side effects and were as or more effective than other chemotherapy combinations that are used for small intestine cancer.


Immunotherapy helps strengthen or restore the immune system’s ability to find and destroy cancer. Current research in the United States is trying to find out if the following immune checkpoint inhibitors are effective in treating advanced small intestine cancer:

  • avelumab (Bavencio) (National Cancer Trials, NCT 03000179)
  • atezolizumab (Tecentriq) combined with the targeted therapy drug cobimetinib (Cotellic) (National Cancer Trials, NCT 03108131)

Learn more about cancer research

Researchers continue to try to find out more about small intestine cancer. Clinical trials are research studies that test new ways to treat small intestine cancer. They also look at ways to prevent, find and manage cancer.

Clinical trials provide information about the safety and effectiveness of new approaches to see if they should become widely available. Most of the standard treatments for small intestine cancer were first shown to be effective through clinical trials.

Find out more about clinical trials.