Purpose: African Americans (AA) have the highest incidence of colorectal cancer compared with other U.S. populations and more proximal colorectal cancers. The objective is to elucidate the basis of these cancer disparities.
Experimental design: Of note, 566 AA and 328 non-Hispanic White (NHW) colorectal cancers were ascertained in five Chicago hospitals. Clinical and exposure data were collected. Microsatellite instability (MSI) and BRAF (V600E) and KRAS mutations were tested. Statistical significance of categorical variables was tested by the Fisher exact test or logistic regression and age by the Mann-Whitney U test.
Results: Over a 10-year period, the median age at diagnosis significantly decreased for both AAs (68-61; P < 0.01) andNHWs(64.5- 62; P= 0.04); more AA patients were diagnosed before age 50 thanNHWs(22% vs. 15%; P = 0.01). AAs had more proximal colorectal cancer than NHWs (49.5% vs. 33.7%; P < 0.01), but overall frequencies of MSI, BRAF and KRAS mutations were not different nor were they different by location in the colon. Proximal colorectal cancers often presented with lymphocytic infiltrate (P < 0.01) and were diagnosed at older ages (P = 0.02). Smoking, drinking, and obesity were less common in this group, but results were not statistically significant.
Conclusions: Patients with colorectal cancer have gotten progressively younger. The excess of colorectal cancer in AAs predominantly consists of more proximal, microsatellite stable tumors, commonly presenting lymphocytic infiltrate and less often associated with toxic exposures or a higher BMI. Younger AAs had more distal colorectal cancers than older ones. These data suggest two different mechanisms driving younger age and proximal location of colorectal cancers in AAs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research