Article Abstract

Curative treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer in the young population: is it worth it?

Authors: Jia Hao Law, Frederick Hong Xiang Koh, Shi Wang, Ker Kan Tan


Background: A significant proportion of patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) presents with metastatic disease. In younger patients, a more aggressive approach is often adopted in an attempt to achieve cure and improve survival. The aim of this paper is to review the management and outcomes of young patients with metastatic CRC.
Methods: All patients under 50 years diagnosed with CRC in a single institution from January 2007 to December 2015 were reviewed. Patient demographics, details of their treatments, progress and outcomes of treatment were collected for our review.
Results: There were 154 newly diagnosed CRC patients who were <50 years old during the study period. Thirty-three patients (21.4%) had stage IV disease on presentation. Seventeen (51.5%) of these 33 patients were treated with curative intent; 9 (52.9%) of whom underwent upfront surgical resection alone while the remaining 8 (47.1%) patients had neoadjuvant therapy followed by surgical resection. Among the 16 patients who were treated with palliative intent, 9 (56.3%) had surgery while 7 (43.7%) had definitive chemo- or radio-therapy. There was no significant difference in the median survival of patients treated with curative and palliative intent (29 vs. 24 months, P=0.140).
Conclusions: Young CRC patients with stage IV disease typically survive for 2 years upon diagnosis. Those who were treated and underwent surgery with curative intent have a slightly longer but not statistically significant median survival than those treated with palliative intent. The role of aggressive treatment in these young patients with metastatic patients merits further evaluation.