The goal of this study was to quantify the association between demographic factors and advanced colorectal cancer (CRC) in patients under age 50.
CRC incidence in the United States has declined in older individuals but increased in those under age 50 (early-onset). More than 60% of early-onset CRC patients present with advanced disease (stage III/IV), but predictors of stage in this population are poorly defined.
We analyzed CRC cases diagnosed between age 20 and 49 in the United States Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) 18 database during 2004 to 2015. Logistic regression models were fit to assess the impact of age, sex, race, ethnicity, marital status, and cancer site on the probability of advanced disease.
The analysis included 37,044 cases. On multivariable regression, age was inversely associated with advanced disease. Relative to 45 to 49-year-olds, 40 to 44-year-olds had 8% greater odds of having advanced CRC, and 20 to 24-year-olds had 53% greater odds. Asians, blacks, and Pacific Islanders had 10%, 12%, and 45% greater odds of advanced disease compared with whites. Compared with nonpartnered individuals, those with partners had 11% lower odds of advanced CRC. Both right-sided and left-sided colon cancer were more likely to be diagnosed at stage IV compared with rectal cancer.
Among individuals with early-onset CRC, younger age, Asian, black, or Pacific Islander race, and being nonpartnered were predictors of advanced disease at presentation. Colon cancer was more likely to be diagnosed at stage IV than rectal cancer. Patient characteristics associated with advanced CRC may indicate both differences in tumor biology and disparities in health care access.