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Different Clinical Manifestations Between Primary Gastrointestinal Malignancies and Benign Tumors in Children

Tay, Chow-Hong; Lee, Hung-Chang*; Yeung, Chun-Yan*; Chan, Wai-Tao*; Jiang, Chuen-Bin*; Liang, Der-Cherng*

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition: October 2012 - Volume 55 - Issue 4 - p 440–444
doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e31824e88eb

Objective: The purpose of the present study was to review the different clinical manifestations of primary gastrointestinal (GI) malignancies and benign tumors in pediatric patients.

Methods: The demographic data, duration to diagnosis, clinical features, laboratory data, location and pathology of the tumors, and outcomes of pediatric patients from January 1984 to December 2009 were retrospectively reviewed.

Results: A total of 24 GI malignancies and 62 benign tumors were diagnosed. Patients in the benign group were mostly diagnosed in the first decade of life (73%), whereas majority of patients with malignancies were older than 10 years (79%). The most common tumor location in the benign group was the colorectum, whereas in the malignant group, tumors were distributed equally in the small intestine and colorectum. The median duration from onset to diagnosis in the benign group was longer than that of the malignant group (P > 00.05). There was statistically significant increase in the presence of hematochezia in patients with benign tumor compared with those with malignancy (P < 00.05). Among the malignancies, 79% presented with abdominal pain, followed by weight loss (25%), anorexia (25%), palpable mass (25%), and fever (21%), with statistically significant differences compared with the benign group (P < 00.05). Anemia was found in 47% to 63% of patients in both groups (P > 00.05). Two patients with polyposis subsequently developed malignancy.

Conclusions: Different manifestations of GI malignancies and benign tumors may help pediatricians to detect these early. Patients with polyposis should be aware of the risk of malignant change.

*Department of Pediatrics, Mackay Memorial Hospital, Taipei

Department of Pediatrics, Sin-Lau Hospital, Tainan, Taiwan.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Hung-Chang Lee, MD, Department of Pediatrics. Mackay Memorial Hospital, No 92, Chungshan North Rd, Sec. 2, Taipei 10449, Taiwan (e-mail:

Received 26 September, 2011

Accepted 2 February, 2012

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Copyright 2012 by ESPGHAN and NASPGHAN