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Indian J Cancer. 2014 Oct-Dec;51(4):538-41. doi: 10.4103/0019-509X.175307.

The impact of hereditary colorectal cancer on the Indian population.

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Department of Surgical Oncology, Gastrointestinal Service, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.



The incidence of colorectal cancer in India is lower compared to the Western world. In Western countries, most cases of colorectal cancer are sporadic and the hereditary variety accounts for only 10-15% of all cases. The aim of the present review is to determine the clinical and epidemiological characteristics of hereditary colorectal cancer in India.


A Medline search was conducted to review the literature published from India regarding colorectal cancer. The keywords used included India, colorectal cancer, hereditary nonpolyposis, and familial adenomatous polyposis. All relevant articles were reviewed and the characteristic features of this disease in Indian population were collated and presented.


Literature search revealed eighty two articles pertinent to India, of which only ten articles had relevant information on hereditary cancers. Although the overall incidence of colorectal cancer was low in both genders, there were a high proportion of patients developing colorectal cancer before the age of 45 years. Additionally, there was a higher proportion (10-15%) of hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer cases, as confirmed by microsatellite instability.


The overall incidence of colorectal cancer is low in India. There is a tendency to affect a relatively younger age group, and we infer that the incidence of hereditary colorectal cancer is high and is similar to the Western countries.

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