Article

Familial Cancer

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 555-561

The correlation between a family history of colorectal cancer and survival of patients with colorectal cancer

  • Helgi BirgissonAffiliated withCentre for Clinical Research, Uppsala University, Central HospitalDepartment of Surgery, University of UppsalaDepartment of Surgery, University Hospital Email author 
  • , Arezo GhanipourAffiliated withDepartment of Surgery, University of Uppsala
  • , Kennet SmedhAffiliated withCentre for Clinical Research, Uppsala University, Central HospitalDepartment of Surgery, Central Hospital
  • , Lars PåhlmanAffiliated withDepartment of Surgery, University of Uppsala
  • , Bengt GlimeliusAffiliated withDepartment of Oncology, Radiology and Clinical Immunology, University of UppsalaDepartment of Oncology and Pathology, Karolinska Institutet

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Abstract

The purpose was to analyze survival of patients with colorectal cancer and a positive family history for colorectal cancer in first degree relatives compared with those with no such family history and to determine whether differences in survival could be explained by known clinico-pathological factors. During 2000–2003, 318 consecutive patients with colorectal cancer answered a written questionnaire about their family history for colorectal cancer. During a 6-year follow-up, recurrences and survival were registered. Thirty-one (10%) patients had a first-degree relative with colorectal cancer, moreover two patients fulfilled the criteria of hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer and were excluded. Patients with a first-degree relative with colorectal cancer had better survival and lower risk for recurrences compared to those with no relatives with colorectal cancer. In a multivariate analysis including age, gender, stage of disease, tumor differentiation, vascular invasion and family history, patients with first-degree relatives with colorectal cancer had lower risks for death (RR 0.37; 95% CI 0.17–0.78) and death from cancer (RR 0.25; 95% CI 0.08–0.80), compared to those with a no relative with colorectal cancer. The differences were seen in patients with colon cancer but not rectal cancer. Family history for colorectal cancer in a first-degree relative is an individual prognostic factor in patients with colon cancer and could not be explained by known clinico-pathological factors. The value of family history taking in patients with colon cancer is therefore not only to identify families with hereditary colorectal cancer, but also to add information to the prognosis of the patients.

Keywords

Cancer Family history Heredity Colorectal Survival