Background: Small bowel adenocarcinoma (SBA) is a rare cancer and consequently, the options for clinical trials are limited. As they are treated according to either a colorectal or a gastric cancer regimen and the molecular biology of a tumor is a pivotal determinant for therapy response, chromosomal copy number aberrations were compared with the colorectal and gastric adenocarcinomas. Materials and methods: A total of 85 microsatellite stable (MSS) adenocarcinomas from the stomach, colorectum and small bowel were selected from existing array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) datasets. We compared the aCGH profiles of the three tumor sites by supervised analysis and hierarchical clustering. Results: Hierarchical clustering revealed substantial overlap of 27 SBA copy number profiles with matched colorectal adenocarcinomas but less overlap with profiles of gastric adenocarcinomas. DNA copy number aberrations located at chromosomes 1p36.3-p34.3, 4p15.3-q35.2, 9p24.3-p11.1, 13q13.2-q31.3 and 17p13.3-p13.2 were the strongest features discriminating SBAs and colorectal adenocarcinomas from gastric adenocarcinomas. Conclusions: We show that MSS SBAs are more similar to colorectal than to gastric cancer, based on the 27 genome-wide DNA copy number profiles that are currently available. These molecular similarities provide added support for treatment of MSS small bowel cancers according to colorectal cancer regimens. © The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society for Medical Oncology. All rights reserved.