Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Unusual Cancers of Childhood Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Abdominal Cancers



There is a higher incidence of mucinous adenocarcinoma in the pediatric and adolescent age group (40%-50%), with many lesions being the signet ring cell type,[76,79,88] whereas only about 15% of adult lesions are of this histology. The tumors of younger patients with this histologic variant may be less responsive to chemotherapy. In the adolescent and young adult population with the mucinous histology, there is a higher incidence of signet ring cells, microsatellite instability, and mutations in the mismatch repair genes.[94] These tumors arise from the surface of the bowel, usually at the site of an adenomatous polyp. The tumor may extend into the muscle layer surrounding the bowel, or the tumor may perforate the bowel entirely and seed through the spaces around the bowel, including intra-abdominal fat, lymph nodes, liver, ovaries, and the surface of other loops of bowel. A high incidence of metastasis involving the pelvis, ovaries, or both may be present in girls.[84] Colorectal cancers in younger patients with noninherited sporadic tumors often lack KRAS mutations and other cytogenetic anomalies seen in older patients.[95]

Treatment and survival

Most patients present with evidence of metastatic disease,[79] either as gross tumor or as microscopic deposits in lymph nodes, on the surface of the bowel, or on intra-abdominal organs.[86,88] Complete surgical excision is the most important prognostic factor and should be the primary aim of the surgeon, but in most instances this is impossible; removal of large portions of tumor provides little benefit for those with extensive metastatic disease.[76] Most patients with microscopic metastatic disease generally develop gross metastatic disease, and few individuals with metastatic disease at diagnosis become long-term survivors.

Current therapy includes the use of radiation for rectal and lower colon tumors, in conjunction with chemotherapy using 5-FU with leucovorin.[96] Other agents, including irinotecan, may be of value.[79][Level of evidence: 3iiiA] No significant benefit has been determined for interferon-alpha given in conjunction with 5-FU/leucovorin.[97] A recent review of nine clinical trials comprising 138 patients younger than 40 years demonstrated that the use of combination chemotherapy improved progression-free survival and overall survival (OS) in these patients. Furthermore, OS and response rates to chemotherapy were similar to those observed in older patients.[98]

Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Colorectal cancer cells
New! I AM Not Cancer Facebook Group
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
Ovarian cancer illustration
Real Cancer Perspectives
Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
what is your cancer risk
colorectal cancer treatment advances
breast cancer overview slideshow
prostate cancer overview
lung cancer overview slideshow
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
Actor Michael Douglas