Previous studies in this field have split the population into two mutually exclusive groups, establishing rigid limits between those patients younger than 40 or 50 and those older than that age. The new research, however, did not use such a cut-off approach and includes data spanning all ages.
"The reason we did this is we believe a 49-year-old patient with colorectal cancer may be different than a 20-year-old. By including them in the same group of people younger than 50 years old, we might be mistakenly considering them the same," said Lieu.
Lieu and his colleagues analyzed information from a database of clinical trials in advanced colorectal cancer supported by the French "Aide et Recherche en Cancrologie Digestive" Foundation (ARCAD), which includes the 20,034 patients from 24 phase III clinical trials who were on their first treatment for the disease. There was additional patient data in which patients might be on second or third line treatment, having not responded to their initial therapy. Out of these patients, 20,011 were evaluable for analysis of survival time and time until the disease progressed.
"Analysis of this incredibly large population of patients has allowed us to answer meaningful questions, such as the outcomes of young versus older patients. Our results show young age is associated with worse overall survival and progression-free survival," said Lieu. "Young patients with metastatic colorectal cancer represent a group who are at high risk for treatment failure."
Despite the comprehensive nature of the study, more research will be required to identify why colorectal cancer in younger people appears to be more aggressive. Lieu and collaborators from University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center are now looking at the biological differences that may ac
|Contact: Erika Matich|
University of Colorado Denver