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CU Cancer Center study: Young patients with metastatic colorectal cancer at higher risk
Date:9/30/2013

Younger patients with colorectal cancer that has spread to other parts of the body represent a high-risk group that is less likely to respond to treatment. Colorectal cancer in patients younger than 40 is more likely to grow despite treatment and young patients are at greater risk of death than people in other age groups.

That's according to research presented to the 2013 European Cancer Congress in Amsterdam. The team of scientists is led by an investigator at University of Colorado Cancer Center.

An analysis of 20,034 patients in 24 phase III clinical trials showed that the youngest and oldest patients had the highest risk of disease progression and death, compared to middle-aged patients. When compared to 57 year-olds, people under 40 had a 30% increased risk of dying from the disease, and, when compared to 61-year-olds, they had a 28% increased risk of their disease spreading during the first year of follow-up.

Colorectal cancer occurs in 4.6% of patients who are younger than 50, the incidence of the disease has been increasing at a rate of 1.5% per year from 1992 to 2005 in this age group. The most dramatic increases have been observed in the 20-29 year-old group, with an annual 5.2% increase in cases in men and a 5.6% increase in women. In the 30-39 year-old group, there has been an annual 3% increase in men and a 2% increase in women.

"The reasons why the incidence of colorectal cancer is increasing in younger patients remain unknown, although genetic predisposition, environmental factors, fewer early cancer detections in this population or a combination of these factors are thought to play a role," said Christopher Lieu, MD, a CU Cancer Center investigator and assistant professor at CU's School of Medicine.

"We carried out this study to see whether age was associated with time until cancer progresses or the patient dies. We also wanted to get a better picture of the ageresponse relationship and identify how
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Contact: Erika Matich
erika.matich@ucdenver.edu
303-724-1528
University of Colorado Denver
Source:Eurekalert

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