June 28, 2005

Colon cancer risk in US varies by race, ethnicity

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - In the US population, there is
a wide ethnic and racial disparity in the risk of developing
advanced-stage colorectal cancer and of dying from the disease,
researchers report in the medical journal Cancer.

Compared with non-Hispanic whites, Puerto Ricans are among
those with increased risk and Japanese are among those with
decreased risk.

Chloe Chien and colleagues at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer
Research Center, Seattle, used 11 population-based cancer
registries to evaluate disease stage and mortality in relation
to 18 racial and ethnic factors. The data covered more than
154,000 subjects who were diagnosed with colorectal cancer
between 1988 and 2000.

In comparison with non-Hispanic whites, the team found that
blacks, American Indians, Chinese, Filipinos, Koreans,
Hawaiians, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and South and Central
Americans were from 10 to 60 percent more likely to be
diagnosed with advanced colorectal cancer.

Mortality rates from colorectal cancer were also 20 to 30
percent greater in blacks, American Indians, Hawaiian and

Conversely, Japanese had a 20 percent lower risk of
advanced-stage disease. Chinese, Japanese, Indians and
Pakistanis had a 20 percent to 40 percent lower mortality risk.

Within some groups, the risks were not clearcut. "We
observed numerous differences in the risks of advanced-stage
colorectal cancer and mortality across individuals in different
Asian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic white subgroups," Chien
told Reuters Health.

This suggests that it is important to take into account
differences within broad racial/ethnic categories when
evaluating risks in these populations, Chien said.

Cancer 2005;104.