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Incidence and risk factors for preneoplastic and neoplastic lesions of the colon and rectum in patients under 50 referred for colonoscopy

Published:February 17, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejim.2021.02.008

      Highlights

      • Out of 1778 patients <50 years old undergoing colonoscopy, 27 (1.5%) had colorectal cancer
      • 13/27 (48%) colorectal cancer patients had a metastatic disease at the time of diagnosis
      • Patients aged 40-50 years old had a greater risk compared to those aged <40
      • The presence of alarm symptoms was associated with a diagnosis of colorectal cancer (OR 3.7; p=0.005)

      Abstract

      Background: Colorectal cancer (CRC) diagnosed before the age of 50, known as early-onset CRC (eoCRC), is considered uncommon. We aimed at analysing the incidence of preneoplastic and neoplastic lesions of the colon and rectum in patients under 50 years old and to identify possible predictors
      Methods: We retrospectively collected data from 1778 patients under 50 years old (mean age 39.9±7.8) referred for colonoscopy between 2015-2018. Cumulative incidence of adenomas and eoCRC was assessed. Multivariable regression models were fitted
      Results: The cumulative incidence for adenomas was 11.0% (95% CI 9-12), while it was 1.5% (95% CI 1-2) for eoCRC (metastatic disease in 13/27 patients). Age as a continuous variable was associated with the presence of adenomas (incidence rate ratio 1.06; 95% CI 1.03-1.09; p<0.001). EoCRC arose in most cases in the rectum (13/27, 48.1%). Age ≥40 was the main risk factor (OR 2.25; 95% CI 1.35-3.73; p=0.002) for both adenomas (160/196 patients, 81.6%) and eoCRC (20/27 patients, 74.1%), while smoking seemed to have no role (p=0.772). The presence of alarm symptoms was statistically significant at bivariable analysis for eoCRC only (OR 3.70; 95% CI 1.49-9.22; p=0.005), as well as having multiple gastrointestinal symptoms (OR 19.85; 95% CI 2.64-149.42; p=0.004). Only 3/27 (11.1%) patients with eoCRC had a family history for CRC
      Conclusions: A high cumulative incidence rate of both adenomas and eoCRC was found, this latter occurring more common in patients aged 40-49, without apparent risk factors. The presence of alarm symptoms or multiple gastrointestinal symptoms led to a late diagnosis.

      Keywords

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