Pediatric Surgery International

, Volume 25, Issue 12, pp 1073–1076 | Cite as

Colon carcinoma in children and adolescents: prognostic factors and outcome—a review of 11 cases

  • Sonia Salas-Valverde
  • Andrea Lizano
  • Yessica Gamboa
  • Sergio Vega
  • Max Barrantes
  • Silvia Santamaría
  • Jose Barrantes Zamora
Original Article



Carcinoma of the colon and rectum is rare in the pediatric age group, and usually presents with an advanced stage disease bearing a poor prognosis. Colorectal carcinoma should be considered in children with signs of intestinal obstruction, alteration in bowel habits, gastrointestinal bleeding and chronic abdominal pain. We performed a retrospective study to evaluate the clinical characteristics, and prognosis of these patients.


Between 1974 and 2007, 11 patients were identified and treated for colorectal carcinoma at the Oncology Unit. The medical records were studied to analyze the age, sex, clinical presentation, diagnostic procedures, extent of disease (Dukes staging), treatment, histological types, and outcome.


There were seven boys and four girls ranging from 7 to 17 of age. Predisposing diseases and syndromes were encountered in three children, (1 with Turner’s syndrome and two with adenomatous familial polyposis). Abdominal pain, acute intestinal obstruction, rectal bleeding and weight loss were the commonest symptoms. Surgical procedures were done in 11 patients (incomplete resection with segmental resection in 4 patients, complete resection in the other 4, and biopsy alone in 3 patients).The predominant histological type was mucinous carcinoma. Seven patients received adjuvant chemotherapy, all of whom did not survive. Two patients died shortly after initial surgery, and two patients are alive, and well.


Colorectal carcinoma in children is very uncommon and could be easily misdiagnosed, resulting in advanced stage disease at diagnosis. Because radical surgery which is the mainstay of treatment is possible only in patients with early stage disease, a high level of awareness and early diagnosis are critical.


Colon carcinoma Children and adolescents 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sonia Salas-Valverde
    • 1
  • Andrea Lizano
    • 1
  • Yessica Gamboa
    • 2
  • Sergio Vega
    • 2
  • Max Barrantes
    • 2
  • Silvia Santamaría
    • 3
  • Jose Barrantes Zamora
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SurgeryNational Children’s Hospital, University of Costa RicaSan JoseCosta Rica
  2. 2.Department of Pediatric OncologyNational Children’s HospitalSan JoseCosta Rica
  3. 3.Department of PathologyNational Children’s HospitalSan JoseCosta Rica

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