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Int J Colorectal Dis. 2012 Jan;27(1):71-9. doi: 10.1007/s00384-011-1291-8. Epub 2011 Sep 1.

Despite aggressive histopathology survival is not impaired in young patients with colorectal cancer : CRC in patients under 50 years of age.

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Department of Surgery, University Hospital Erlangen, Krankenhausstrasse 12, 91054, Erlangen, Germany.



Colorectal carcinoma (CRC) is generally a disease of persons older than 50 years. Concerning younger patients, controversies still exist regarding features and prognosis of CRC. We performed this study to characterize CRC in young patients (≤50 years) as well as to evaluate outcome in comparison with older patients (>50 years) with CRC.


Clinical and histopathological parameters of 244 patients aged 50 years or less were compared with 1,718 patients aged more than 50 years.


Compared with older patients, the younger had less adenocarcinomas (82.8% vs. 89.1%; p = 0.004) and less postoperative complications (18.4% vs. 28.7%; p = 0.001), and less Union Internationale Contre le Cancer stage I colon cancers (22.9% vs. 13.6%, p = 0.046) but elevated overall 5-year survival rates for M0 colon and rectal cancers (p = 0.005; p < 0.001). In young patients, the minority suffered from hereditary cancer syndromes (7.4%) and inflammatory bowel diseases (7.0%). Furthermore, up to 40% of young patients denied any cancers in their families. Cancer-related survival rates were significantly elevated in young patients with M0 rectal carcinoma (p = 0.014), whereas in M0 colon cancers, no differences were detectable (p = 0.542). In case of the presence of distant metastases, overall and cancer-related survival rates were similar in old and young patients.


Although young patients present with more aggressive histopathological subtypes and less early stages, cancer-related survival is not less favourable compared with older patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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