Gastrointestinal Bleeding Due to Gastrointestinal Tract Malignancy: Natural History, Management, and Outcomes
Gastrointestinal (GI) tumor bleeding can vary from occult bleeding to massive hemorrhage and can be the presenting sign of malignancy.
Our primary aims were to: (1) characterize the natural history, treatment, and outcomes in patients with GI tumor bleeding and (2) compare and contrast bleeding in upper GI (UGI)/small bowel (SB) and lower GI malignancies.
Patients with endoscopically confirmed tumor bleeding were identified through search of consecutive electronic medical records: Bleeding was determined by the presence of melena, hematochezia, hematemesis, or fecal occult blood. Comprehensive clinical and management data were abstracted.
A total of 354 patients with GI tumors were identified: 71 had tumor bleeding (42 UGI/SB and 29 colonic). GI bleeding was the initial presenting symptom of malignancy in 55/71 (77%) of patients; 26/71 patients had widely metastatic disease at presentation. Further, 15 of 26 patients with metastatic disease presented with GI bleeding. Visible bleeding was present in 14/42 (33%) and 4/29 (14%) of UGI/SB and colonic tumors, respectively. Endoscopic hemostasis was attempted in 10 patients, and although initial control was successful in all, bleeding recurred in all of these patients. The most common endoscopic lesion was clean-based tumor ulceration. Overall mortality at 1 year was 57% for esophageal/gastric, 14% for SB, and 33% for colonic tumors.
When patients with GI malignancy present with GI bleeding, it is often the index symptom. Initial endoscopic hemostasis is often successful, but rebleeding is typical. Esophageal and gastric tumors carry the poorest prognosis, with a high 1-year mortality rate.
KeywordsNeoplasm Hematemesis Melena Hemorrhage Ulcer Mass
Charlson Comorbidity Index
RS was involved in study concept and design; acquisition of data; analysis and interpretation of data; drafting of the manuscript; and critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content. DR was involved in study concept and design; acquisition of data; analysis and interpretation of data; drafting of the manuscript; critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content; and study oversight.
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Conflict of interest
The authors certify that they have no financial arrangements (e.g., consultancies, stock ownership, equity interests, patent-licensing arrangements, research support, honoraria) with a company whose product figures prominently in this manuscript or with a company making a competing product.