Aims: Colorectal carcinoma in patients under 40 years of age usually has a poor prognosis. Controversies still exist regarding the features and the prognosis of colorectal cancer in young patients. Methods: The records of 45 patients with histologically confirmed colorectal carcinoma treated between 1992 and 2002 at the Division of Oncology at Taipei Veterans General Hospital were reviewed. The relevance of sex, duration of symptoms, tumor site, histological type, lymph node involvement, Karnofsky performance status (KPS), carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels at the diagnosis and tumor stage to overall survival (OS) were determined by univariate analysis, and their independent significance were tested by multivariate analysis. Results: Most patients presented with an advanced tumor stage (24% Dukes' C and 66% Dukes' D). Colon carcinoma constituted 76% of the colorectal tumors. Family history was present in two patients and did not affect the OS. Two patients were found to have colon carcinoma during pregnancy. The 5-year survival rate in patients with Stage B, C, and D were 25, 16 and 0%, respectively. With aggressive treatment, patients with early stage carcinoma achieved longer survival. Eleven patients received resection of metastatic carcinoma of the liver, lung and ovary. Adjuvant chemotherapy with irinotecan/5-fluoroucil-based chemotherapy seemed to improve the OS in such patients, though the OS was still poorer than in patients with early stage tumors. In univariate analysis, KPS (P = 0.0001), lymph node involvement (P = 0.0024), CEA (P = 0.0423) and LDH levels (P = 0.0126) at the diagnosis and tumor stage (P = 0.0122) proved to be significant predictors of overall survival. Multivariate analyses revealed that KPS ≥70% (P = 0.007) and normal LDH levels at diagnosis (P = 0.004) were predictive of overall survival in this population. Conclusions: The present study shows that performance status and preoperative LDH levels were the major determinants for survival in patients with colorectal carcinoma under 40 years of age and the present series also suggests that surgical resection of metastatic colorectal carcinoma followed by adjuvant chemotherapy might be beneficial in certain patients. The data also suggests that current treatment modalities for young patients with advanced colorectal cancer might not be effective and more effective therapeutic regimens might be needed. Thus, it is important for surgeons to recognize the potential for colorectal cancer in young patients and to take an aggressive approach to the diagnosis and early treatment of the disease.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Australia)|
|State||Published - Jun 2005|
- Colorectal carcinoma
- Young adult