Publication Abstract

Authors: Tong L, Ahn C, Symanski E, Lai D, Du XL

Title: Relative impact of earlier diagnosis and improved treatment on survival for colorectal cancer: a US database study among elderly.

Journal: Cancer Epidemiol 38(6):733-40

Date: 2014 Dec

Abstract: PURPOSES: To estimate what proportion of improvement in relative survival was attributable to smaller stage/size due to early detection and what proportion was attributable to cancer chemotherapy in patients with colorectal cancer (CRC). METHODS: We studied 69,718 patients with CRC aged ≥ 66 years in 1992-2009 from Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results registries. Study periods were categorized into three periods according to the major changes or advances in screening and chemotherapy regimens: (1) Period-1 (1992-1995), during which there was no evidence-based recommendation for routine CRC screening and 5-fluorouracil was the mainstay for chemotherapy; (2) Period-2 (1996-2000), during which evidences and guidelines supported the use of fecal occult blood test (FOBT) and sigmoidoscopy for routine CRC screening; and (3) Period-3 (2001-2009), during which Medicare Program added the full coverage for colonoscopy screening to average-risk individuals, and several newly developed chemotherapy regimens were approved. Outcome variables included the likelihood of being diagnosed at an early stage or with a small tumor size, and improvement in relative survival. RESULTS: Compared to period-1, likelihood of being diagnosed with early stage CRC increased by 20% in period-2 (odds ratio = 1.2, 95%CI: 1.1-1.2) and 30% in period-3 (1.3, 1.2-1.4); and likelihood of being diagnosed with small-size CRC increased by 60% in period-2 and 110% in period-3. Similarly, 5-year overall relative survival increased from 51% in period-1 to 56% in period-2 and 60% in period-3. Increase in survival attributable to migration in stage/size was 9% in period-2 and 20% in period-3, while the remaining survival improvement during period-2 and period-3 were largely attributable to more effective chemotherapy regimens (≥ 71.6%) and other treatment factors (≤ 25%). CONCLUSIONS: Improvements in CRC screening resulted in a migration of CRC toward earlier tumor stage and smaller size, which contributed to ≤ 20% of survival increase. Survival improvement over the past 2 decades was largely explained by more effective chemotherapy regimens (≥ 71.6%).