Gastrointestinal tract carcinoma in pediatric and adolescent age: The Italian TREP project experience

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Gastrointestinal (GI) carcinomas are very rare in the pediatric and adolescent age range. We report the clinical features, treatment, and outcome of a series of children and adolescents with GI carcinoma prospectively registered in the Italian Tumori Rari in Età Pediatrica (TREP) project.


The TREP project developed diagnostic and therapeutic guidelines based on recommendations currently in use for adults. Clinical data were centrally registered and reviewed.


Fifteen patients were registered over the years 2000–2016. Most of the tumors were colorectal carcinomas (12 cases). All but one patient had advanced-stage disease (American Joint Committee on Cancer stages III–IV), and the majority of patients had aggressive histological subtypes, i.e. poorly differentiated (G3) (five patients), mucinous (four patients), and signet ring (two patients) adenocarcinomas. Surgery was performed in 13 of 15 patients, and was radical in nine of 13 patients. Only one patient received postoperative radiotherapy. All patients received chemotherapy, with the addition of bevacizumab in two cases. Nine patients were still alive at the time of the present report, but two of them had only just completed their treatment program and one patient is still on treatment. Six patients died due to disease progression.


This prospective report on pediatric GI tract carcinomas confirms the rarity and biological aggressiveness of these diseases in pediatric and adolescent age. Further prospective studies are needed to explore the distinct biology of tumor in this age group in order to find new therapeutic targeted agents.

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