To define the prognosis of colorectal cancer (CRC) in young patients and to compare their postoperative treatment with that of older patients.
This multicenter study enrolled 5,457 patients with primary CRC who underwent surgical resection. The overall survival (OS), clinicopathologic characteristics, and postoperative treatment of 253 young patients aged 18-44 years and 5,204 older patients aged 44-80 years were analyzed.
The OS rate was 77.1% for young and 74.2% for older patients (P = 0.348). Landmark analysis showed a significant difference in survival between young and older patients, with 63.8% of deaths among young patients being within 25 months of surgery compared with 42.4% among older patients (P = 0.002). Among those who survived more than 25 months, young patients had significantly better survival than older patients (P = 0.009). Multivariable analysis of young patients revealed that the tumor location, perineural invasion, and stage were associated with poor survival within 25 months; after this period, stage was the only prognostic marker. Young patients were more likely to receive chemotherapy, particularly multiagent regimens. For young patients, no significant difference in OS was found based on the chemotherapy regimen, regardless of disease stage (II, III, or IV, all P > 0.05). In addition, unlike in older patients, no difference in OS was found in young patients regardless of the drug regimen administered (all P > 0.05).
Young-onset CRC may have a unique disease biology that warrants further research and therapy development.

Copyright © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. on behalf of The American College of Gastroenterology.